5 More Ways to Find the Right Word

1. Word association – To find the right word, think of a term that sounds like the one you’re looking for. Ask yourself which one pops into your mind first. Words to Use takes this further, providing sentence prompts based on parts of speech to help you find the right word.

Word association has been used in psychology and in marketing; Carl Jung’s word association tests explored how the unconscious mind influences human behavior. Marketing researchers have analyzed terms with positive connections, such as power words and sensory words. Use them to find the right word and vary your choices.

2. Play it by ear – Say the word or phrase linked to the term aloud. See if your mind will fill in the gap with the ideal one. If it still won’t come out, ask yourself what the word looks or sounds like. Is it a noun, a verb, or an adjective? Or a person, a place, or a thing? How many syllables or accents does it have? A rhyming dictionary can guide you to similar words.

3. Get specific  Describe the word you’re looking for. The right image might come to mind. Concrete terms also let readers see what you describe.

  • Example: A bowl of fruit
  • Revised: A basket of bananas

If you’re learning English, a picture dictionary can be helpful as it shows images with the words they represent.

4. Try thesaurus tools – Among my favorite alternatives to a thesaurus is Related Words. Beyond word searches, the One Look Thesaurus lets you enter phrases related to the term.

5. Ask – In a roundabout way, this worked for George Harrison. Talk to someone good with English or seek advice in online forums. We’re here to help each other.

For more insights, read 5 Ways to Find the Right Words.

Coaching tailored to your unique writing challenges can help you find the right word.


How do you find the “write” words? Feel free to comment below.


“I do not choose the right word. I get rid of the wrong one. Period.” ~ A.E. Housman

“The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter. It’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightening.” ~ Mark Twain

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