Skip to content

What’s Another Word for . . . ?

Like writers of fiction, journalism, and poetry, business writers often want to find fresh words to replace the ones they use again and again. I often look for synonyms for important, effective, and information.

In my search for the right synonyms to replace the word information, Microsoft has let me down. In my version of Microsoft Office, when I highlight the word information and press Shift F7, I get no synonyms for information–just a few phrases to replace the phrase “in formation”:

in order, in sequence, in turn, in rank, in a row

My disappointment with this Microsoft oversight was the reason I was happy to be reintroduced to the electronic thesaurus Visual Thesaurus. When Visual Thesaurus’s website featured my blog recently, I took a peek at their site and decided to test the software using the word information.

I was pleased to see these synonyms among many others:

data, illustration, evidence, input, background, knowledge, statistics, predictor, example, grounds, fact

Of course, depending on my sentence, only certain synonyms will work, and Visual Thesaurus supplies definitions and examples to help writers choose. For example, the word evidence was defined as “your basis for belief or disbelief; knowledge on which to base belief.” This sentence showed the word in action:

The evidence that smoking causes lung cancer is very compelling.

The definitions and examples should be helpful to people who write in English as a second, third, or fourth language.

You have to experience Visual Thesaurus to see its power, and the company allows a few free searches to test it. I spent all my searches playing with the word information, so I am going to subscribe and give the thesaurus a 14-day trial to see whether it’s a worthwhile tool to add to my desktop.

Caution: If you write procedures, remember that people need the same words used consistently as they follow your steps. You don’t want to replace tool with instrument, apparatus, or equipment. If you do, your reader may be thinking, “I found the tool, but where is the instrument?” Sometimes that old familiar word fits perfectly again and again.

Posted by Avatar photo
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

5 comments on “What’s Another Word for . . . ?”

  • I have a huge problem writing any text in Word – letters will jump back and forward as I’m typing NOW – it is very frustrating!! What can I do to turn this “feature”?? off??

  • Erika, I wish I could help. I have never had that problem in Word.

    Just one thought: Be sure your computer is not set on justified text or centered text. Those settings might cause text to move back and forth.

    Good luck!


  • im having trouble and i need another word for got, the sentence is:
    I rushed to my seat making sure my teacher didn’t noticed and got my books out.
    i want to change the got to another word but i don’t know what one

  • Took my books out.

    Opened my books.

    What is wrong with “got”?

    TITLE: When to use the same word again and again
    BLOG NAME: Manage Your Writing
    DATE: 03/02/2007 05:00:55 AM
    Many of us were overtaught the concept of variety in our writing. So I was happy to see this corrective paragraph at the end of Lynn Gaertner-Johnston’s review, at her Business Writing blog, of Visual Thesaurus:Caution: If you write procedures,

Comments are closed.