Thursday 27 October 2016


There is a school of thought that says that in writing, you shouldn't repeat words. As a result, when you read something authored by someone brought up to believe that, they make liberal use of synonyms.

So, for example, if you read an article about Trump (and that's a good source of amusement), you'll find that the Republican party is often referred to as  the GOP.

There's three problems with this. The first is that when I read an article sprinkled with synonyms, I have to pause at each one to translate it. The second is that maybe some people don't know that the term you're using is a synonym, and think that it means something different. But the third is the worst - it's when the writer thinks they're using a synonym, but actually the word has a subtly different meaning, and the reader comes away from the piece with a complete misapprehension of what the writer was trying to say.

Please avoid using unnecessary synonyms. And words that mean the same thing.


  1. GOP is a TLA - we use them everywhere!

  2. Theater (Theatre) of the Living Arts is the first thing that comes up when I search for "TLA". The acronym finder at shows your intended meaning about 20 definitions down, assuming it means "Three Letter Abbreviation", which is actually wrong and should be expanded to "Three Letter Acronym".

    This is actually a very good (and very amusing to me) example of exactly what the good doctor is talking about.