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The Synonym: A Clever Way to Repeat Yourself (and Persuade at the Same Time)

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

The Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time. (Isaiah 28:13, NLT

A Word For Writers

God repeats Himself over and over in the Bible. 

The Synonym: a helpful way to use repetition to write persuasively with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ChristianWriting #PersuasiveWriting #FreelanceWriting

Sometimes, the repetition is obvious with exact words used sequentially, as in “Truly, truly” (Gospel of John) and “Holy, holy, holy” (Revelation 4)

More often, the repetition is subtly delivered with a synonym: words or phrases that mean (nearly) the same thing. 

Here’s an example in Psalm 119:1-2

“Joyful are people who follow the instructions of the Lord … who obey his laws.”

“Follow the instructions” and “obey” are synonyms – two ways to communicate one concept.

This use of repetition:

  • Emphasizes the point. Obedience is really important to God. He took the time to write it with two different phrases. 
  • Expands on the point. The synonyms give extra details. For instance, “following instructions” implies a step by step process. That means I need to take my time to read and know what God wants.

A synonym is a clever way you can use repetition to emphasize your point and expand it. It’s a powerful persuasive writing tool used throughout the Bible.  

That’s reason enough to use this device in your writing, don’t you think?

A Wise Word

Repeat your point using different words.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

Thank you for the ingenious ways You teach me so I can understand. You are patient and creative in Your Word. Inspire me to use words in ways that emphasize and expand a point and touch readers.

In Jesus’s name, Amen. 

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