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Precision and Style (1 Viewer)

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lumino

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I have observed in the works I have read, that the diction of each one is precise, and yet different from all others in style. And that it should have one quality and also the other seems to my mind contradictory, for I have been told that in the English language there are no synonyms which have the same meaning. For if each word alone has a certain meaning, and each author uses words with precision, they have no freedom in their use of language, except in the order of their words. And if this is the case, how can every work that is written be unique in style?

It is this conundrum that holds me back from writing a draft that is rough, for it seems to me that for every thought there is one perfect expression, and therefore I wonder if one through revision can give any style they wish to what they have written.
 
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luckyscars

WF Veterans
I have observed in the works I have read, that the diction of each one is precise, and yet different from all others in style. And that it should have one quality and also the other seems to my mind contradictory, for I have been told that in the English language there are no synonyms which have the same meaning. For if each word alone has a certain meaning, and each author uses words with precision, they have no freedom in their use of language, except in the order of their words. And if this is the case, how can every work that is written be unique in style?

It is this conundrum that holds me back from writing a draft that is rough, for it seems to me that for every thought there is one perfect expression, and therefore I wonder if one through revision can give any style they wish to what they have written.

"There are no synonyms that have the same meaning"? Uh, yes there are. That is what a synonym is.

"Buy" and "purchase" are examples of words that mean, by definition, the same thing. There are no contexts I can think of where substituting "buy" for "purchase" would not make for the same meaning - "I would like to purchase your silence/I would like to buy you silence". The reason they exist as two separate words is because purchase comes from French where buy comes from German - two of the major parent languages of English. They continue to both exist in English not because they have different meanings but because they have evolved to be used in different applications: Purchase is used in more formal discourse than buy, for example.

Different root languages explain the existence of a lot of synonyms: Languages that evolve without the influences of other languages tend to have fewer words and therefore fewer synonyms. Some languages have zero synonyms.

Anyway, I think your question is about how uniqueness can be achieved when we all use the same dictionary? I think you kind of answered your own question here...

they have no freedom in their use of language, except in the order of their words

The "order of words" is a pretty major thing. When you reconfigure sentences in terms of length and rhythm you get markedly different results. Couple with that the fact you absolutely DO have a choice in language choice style becomes fairly easy to differentiate. Compare the way Hemingway writes to the way Tolkien does. Two writers of about the same generation writing in the same language and with a shared influence (World War One) who nevertheless write in an entirely different way.

It is this conundrum that holds me back from writing a draft that is rough, for it seems to me that for every thought there is one perfect expression, and therefore I wonder if one through revision can give any style they wish to what they have written.

Look, having a "unique" style just isn't that important in the great scheme of things.

Of all the thousands upon thousands of successful writers hardly any possess truly interesting or unusual style. Most readers don't care about that stuff anyway. Ask James Patterson.

For most writers as long as you can write in a way that conveys your story clearly and succinctly and can consistently avoid gaping SPAG problems that is all you need. Write in a way that makes you comfortable.
 
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