Helping Students Make Their Writing Fresh and Colorful

The community of online writers and educators makes the world a brighter place. Sharing ideas over the Internet has become so easy, and thankfully we can pass along good finds to our students with similar ease.

Have you ever come across a useful infographic? The truly helpful ones take time and effort to create. I appreciate the one Jack Milgram shared with me recently. Open a new tab now and take a look at his 28 Boring Words Alternatives. Whether your students are writing an email, an essay, or slides for a presentation, this reference chart could come in handy.

A long list of word alternatives isn’t easily committed to memory, but with practice the more vibrant word choices will be become more familiar. We can give students a head start with a couple activities. I’m a fan of text generation and text transformation exercises. At the sentence level, we can present a set of statements that would benefit from a more colorful and accurate word choice. At the paragraph level, we can present a text filled with repetition and tired word choices and then ask students to create better word variety. If you’d like to put Jack Milgram’s infographic to use, check out my Alternative Word Choices_handout. Encourage students to refer to the list in order to make improvements.

Happy writing!

Photo credit: Tomatoes, Tomato, Color, Rainbow by Foto-Os. Retrieved from the Public Domain at

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