Diction Definition| Diction Synonym

Diction is the choice and use of words in speaking or writing. Diction is the speaker’s or writer’s word choice, and it includes word order, pronunciation, stress, phraseology and intonation. Readers will be able to read diction definition and examples in literature.

Originated in 1540 from the late Latin word ‘dictionem

Diction Definition

Diction is the choice and use of words in speaking or writing. Diction is the speaker’s or writer’s word choice, and it includes word order, pronunciation, stress, phraseology and intonation. Diction may be influenced by regional dialects and the use of idioms.

Diction is often regarded as one of the most important factors in effective public speaking. It is also a vital component of good writing.

A person with good diction tends to speak clearly and distinctly. He or she uses proper grammar and pronunciation; enunciates clearly; avoids slang expressions and clichés; speaks at a natural pace (not too fast); uses appropriate pauses; puts emotion into words; speaks clearly in a variety of situations (for example, when giving directions).

Diction Synonym

The word “diction” is defined as the choice of words. The diction of a writer can be the subject of much criticism, and there are many ways to analyze or define diction.

In general terms, we can say that diction refers to the choice of words in a piece of writing. However, there are some specific elements that make up diction that are worth discussing.

First, there is vocabulary; this refers to the words that are used in a text. Second, there is syntax; this refers to how words are arranged in sentences and phrases. Third, there is style; this refers to all the ways in which writers express themselves, such as through imagery or metaphor. If a writer’s style is informal or formal, then it may help us understand his or her intended audience for the text. Fourth, there is register; this refers to whether a writer uses specialized vocabulary appropriate for academic or professional contexts or casual language appropriate for everyday life conversations with friends and family members (or both). Finally, there is accentuation; this refers to how emphasis or stress affects meaning when reading aloud (or reading silently).

Purpose of writing diction

  • To create an explicit mode which helps the writer to support his purpose of writing.
  • Gives information about the setting and atmosphere of the story
  • To tell readers about some specific character
  • To establish the voice and tone of the story

Types of Diction

  • Middle
  • Formal
  • Informal
  • Poetic
  • Slang
  • Pedantic
  • Colloquial
  • Abstract
  • Concrete

Middle Diction: It maintains the correct language use but is less eminent than formal diction.

Formal Diction:   It reflects the way most educated people speak. The main focus is on grammatical rules, and this type of diction is often used in office documents, business documents and legal documents.

Informal Diction: It is used in simple language of everyday use and often contains idiomatic expressions, contradictions and many plain and general words. This type of diction is often used in short stories and novels.  

Poetic Diction:    It is used by the poets to deviate from the everyday speech of their time and choose words for the supposed inherent poetic qualities. Since the eighteen century, poets have been incorporating all kinds of diction in their work, and now there is no significant difference in poetic language or everyday speech.

Slang Diction:     The words originated within a specific culture but are now used in routine life by the people. ‘Slang Diction’ can be a new word, abbreviation or short form of the ancient word. For example, BAE stands for Before anyone else, and LOL stands for lots of love.

Pedantic Diction: This diction is used when the writer has to introduce the character who possesses high academic knowledge or research. 

Colloquial Diction: The words used in this diction are informal, representing the specific region or time. It creates a colourful effect in writing.

Abstract Diction: Poets use this diction to express some idea or emotion in their work. It does not contain material detail, and the reader has not experienced these words earlier.

Concrete Diction: This diction is used without changing the meaning of words. In other words, words are used according to their literal meaning, which often appeals to the reader’s senses. For example, “I drink water”. In this sentence, the importance of a sentence creates only one meaning.

Examples in Literature

“Lyrical Ballads” (by William Wordsworth)

“A selection of the language really used by men”

An Commerce of the Old and New” (by T.S. Eliot)

“The common word exact without vulgarity, The formal word precise but not pedantic”

On a Raised Beach” (by Hugh Maciarmid’s)

“All is lithogenesis-or lochia, Carpolite fruit of the forbidden tree, Stones blacker than any in the Caaba, Cream-coloured caen-stone, chatoyant pieces, Celadon and corbeau, bistre and beige, Glaucous, hoar, enfouldered, cyathiform, Making mere faculae of the sun and moon, I study you glout and gloss, but ha’ve No cadran’s to adjust you with, and turn again, From optic to haptic and like a blind man run, My fingers over you, arris by arris, burr by burr, Slickensides, truite, rugas, foveoles”

The above lines of ‘Maciarmid’s’ are examples of poetic diction. The general sense of the passage is clear, but it is not easy to understand some of its words. ‘Macdiarmid’ was a poet preoccupied with finding flawless diction and idiom.

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (by Mark Twain)

“In this novel, “Twain” portrays the character of a young boy, Finn, who lived near the Mississippi river in the 1800s. The writer used a very informal, colloquial diction to describe his feelings, youthfulness, and background. Like he says,

“I climb up the shed and crept up to my window just before day was breaking. My new clothe’s was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog tir’d”

Although the words in the above passage are simple, ‘Twain fully justifies the time and place where his character was living.

A Tale of Two Cities (by Charles Dickens)

“It was the best of time, It was the worst of times”

‘Dickens’ used the example of abstract diction in the above-given lines. The lines do not give material information about what ‘Dickens’ wants to say, but the experience of time has been shown. This type of diction develops a curiosity in the minds of the reader about what to happen next.

“Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (by Jules Verne’s)

“At last, after walking two hour’s, we had attained a depth of about 300-yards, that is to say, the extreme limit on which coral begins to fo’m”.

In the above lines, the example of pedantic diction has been shown. The speech of the passage is no doubt literal and full of details that helps the reader to develop a sensual experience.

Further Reading


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