Synonyms: Similar, But Not The Same

Welcome to Day 19 of the A to Z Blog Challenge. So far I’ve managed to think of something to say for each day, and I already have topics picked out fImageor the remaining seven letters. This morning, I had a number of ideas come to mind, not the least of which was sneezing, since my spring allergies are out in full force, and I sneeze, weep, cough by the minute, but I wrote about that in my Spring Blog Hop. If you’d like to pop over and have a read, there are great prizes available. Spring Fling Blog Hop.

This morning I’ve decided to blog about synonyms–words that have similar but not the same meanings. As an author, I’m cautioned not to use the same word all the time and to make sure I use what my editor believes constitutes active voice. My biggest culprit has to be “looked”. Many Canadians express things somewhat differently than our American friends. We have commitment issues. For example, if I say, “He looked upset,” my editor will ask that I change it to what she considers active construction. I might go with “His face reddened and his fists clenched,” but that’s not what I’m trying to say here. I’m looking for something subtle, something open to interpretation. Many of us get upset without being red-faced and having clenched fists–both those actions can denote anger too. Some of us go straight to waterworks and trembling lips. Others are harder to pinpoint–they seem upset, but…

So I went looking for something to say. I found a surprise when I found this. has 8 pages of entries for synonyms of “Look”. Eight pages! All done alphabetically according to perceived meaning, and each synonym can have 8 pages of its own.

So I looked at “looked” when it means “appeared”: assumebe suggestive ofconvey the impressioncreate the impressiongive the feeling ofgive the idea ofhave the appearance ofhave the aspects ofhave the earmarks ofhave the features ofhave the qualities ofhintimplyinsinuateintimatemake a show ofpretendresembleshowshow every sign ofstrike one as beingsuggest.

What did I learn? Sometimes what you said in the first place is the only thing that really works. I tried, “His facial features implied he was upset.” Now, there was a “was” in there! Passive construction again. So I tried, ” He struck her as being upset.” That was even worse since being was in there.  In the end, “He looked upset.” 

Remember to check out the other  A to Z Blog Challenge entries.





Author: mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.

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