You can improve your writing and enhance your arguments by using precise vocabulary. Use this tip sheet to expand your repertoire of verbs that refer to ideas or that link nouns, concepts, ideas, and phrases to one another.
Each box below lists a verb, related verbs, and examples of sentences using the verbs.
To add A to B (to create something new)
→ Incorporate A into B
→ Integrate A into B, or
→ Integrate A with B
|The novelist Thomas King adds elements of oral tradition to written texts.
The novelist Thomas King integrates elements of oral tradition into written texts.
|The film integrates Shakespearean English dialogue with Millennium-era fashion.|
|By incorporating formal into informal speech patterns, Jenkins challenges prescriptive approaches to writing while honoring traditional forms.|
To associate A with B (to show a similarity)
→ Relate A with B
→ Connect A to B
The film director associates animal rights activism with abolitionism to propose the idea that liberating work animals is morally equivalent to freeing slaves.
The film director relates animal rights activism with abolitionism to propose the idea that liberating work animals is morally equivalent to freeing slaves.
|This goal is accomplished by connecting the pursuit of monetary gain to the suffering that results from exploitation.|
|The viewer is thus encouraged to connect certain practices, such as stealing test animals from laboratories, to other historically illegal but morally justified practices such as hiding fugitive slaves.|
To contrast A with B (to show a difference between them)
→ Differentiate A from B
→ Distinguish A from B
|It was common during the early Victorian period to contrast the concept of nature with that of industry to investigate the effects of the factory environment on the workers’ lives.|
|The teacher insisted that her students differentiate the symbolism in the art work from the popularity of the pieces.|
|How is it possible to distinguish Italian opera from German opera?|
To emphasize something (to make it stand out from others)
|George R.R. Martin highlights the temporary nature of power to reflect the precariousness of each ruler’s reign.|
|The photographic series Sclera accentuates the role of the sclera – the whites of
the eyes – as primary indicators of human emotion.
To change something (to include or exclude other elements)
|The film attempts to __________ the definition of 'personhood' to include sentient animals such as dolphins and ravens.|
|The story has been ___________ for the 21st-century, which serves to highlight how the status of women has (not) changed over five centuries.|
|The War Poets ___________ the public's perception of war from a civilized and honorable endeavor to a brutal and dehumanizing practice.|
|W. G. Smith has been accused of _________ hostorical facts to create a less sympathetic view of historically-oppressed minorities.|
To strengthen something (to emphasize its relative importance)
|The collection __________ the presence of traditional oral forms among the other genres of contemporary Canadian literature.|
|Tracks __________ Louise Erdrich’s status as a prominent American novelist.|
|7||To weaken something (to emphasize its relative inferiority)
|Tellier’s argument __________ any remaining support for segregation.|
|The artist __________ social networking to a self-serving, anti-social, and potentially dangerous phenomenon.|
Enhance the following sentences by replacing the bolded words with a more precise alternative found in this resource.
By describing it in great detail, Hawthorne familiarizes evil and therefore makes it less important.
By describing it in great detail, Hawthorne familiarizes evil and therefore weakens it.
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