You need to draft a spectacular newsletter or write an informative blog post for your business. You need to impress your clients and investors with your impressive writing skills. Should you reach for your thesaurus? We say yes! But with caution. Here’s why:

Thesauruses are great resources for changing up repetitive sentences and paragraphs. You should consult one when you find yourself using the same word or phrase over and over again. Take this paragraph for example:

“We are excited to announce that, due to our exponential growth last year, we are expanding! In fact, we are opening 12 new stores this quarter. We eagerly look forward to entering this new phase of expansion. We invite you to celebrate this exciting news with us next week at Conference Room C.”

Although this paragraph is pretty strong, it could be stronger. Some words or their variations (we, expand, excite) appear too often in such a short space. This makes the whole paragraph feel repetitive. By changing up the phrasing and using a thesaurus, your writing becomes more dynamic:

“The Lucky Star is thrilled to announce that, due to our exponential growth last year, we are expanding! In fact, we are opening 12 new stores this quarter. We eagerly look forward to entering this exciting new phase. You are cordially invited to celebrate these developments with us next week at Conference Room C.”  

Take note of the changes: “excited” is substituted with “thrilled” in the first sentence, “we” appears three times instead of five, and the phrase “exciting news” is swapped for “these developments” in the final sentence. This paragraph communicates the same message as the previous example, but the writing is strengthened.

Be aware, however, that there are many cases where using a thesaurus is not in your best interest. So when should you not use one? Sometimes repetition is important, especially when you are trying to communicate an important point like company safety protocols. In this case, you should avoid using a thesaurus.

You should also leave the thesaurus alone when you’re not sure what a word means. Remember that bigger words do not always mean better words. Sometimes this can lead to disastrous (or hilarious) results:

“I want to eat ice cream for dessert” becomes “I yearn to devour crystal paste for din-din.”

Not only is the original meaning of the first sentence lost, the second one sounds ridiculous, and the nuance is completely different. By using a thesaurus this way, you might accidentally say something you don’t mean. It will also look like you don’t know what you are talking about. You definitely don’t want your investors or customers to think that!

As always, short and clear writing is best for businesses. Keep these tips in mind and your next newsletter will shine.