by Sarah Evans, Student Consultant, University Writing Center
With thousands of words available in the English language, there’s no reason not to spice up your papers with some snazzy words. What are your favorite words to use?
1. Allege: claim or assert that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically without proof
The conspirators alleged that the government faked the landing on the moon.
2. Quintessential: representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class
The nineteenth-century costume was completed by a quintessential feathered hat.
3. Juxtapose: to place (different things) together in order to create an interesting effect or to show how they are the same or different
In the art exhibit, the bright red colors were juxtaposed with muted black and white photographs.
4. Inevitable: impossible to avoid or evade
Becoming reliant on coffee is simply inevitable for many college students.
5. Auspicious: showing or suggesting that future success is likely
After an auspicious interview, the candidate was offered the job.
6. Alacrity: promptness in response, cheerful readiness
To have a successful career in customer service, you need enthusiasm and alacrity.
7. Exorbitant: exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity, quality, amount, or size
At seven dollars, the price of the latte was exorbitant.
8. Capricious: changing often and quickly, often changing suddenly in mood or behavior; not logical or reasonable
It’s often said that Indiana weather is incredibly capricious, going from 40 degrees to 80 degrees overnight.
9. Innocuous: not harmful or offensive
The reporter’s question about rumors of embezzlement was hardly innocuous, and the spokesperson did his best to evade the question.
10. Posit: assume as a fact; put forward as a basis of argument
The company posits that their advanced technology results in the best-tasting chocolate.
For more great words, check out Merriam-Webster and remember: “Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.”