Writing Tip 101: Nice is not a nice word.

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I knew a person who did not like the words ‘nice’ and ‘okay’.

She just did not like them. If she sought your opinion on an issue and you replied with ‘it’s nice’. Her conclusion would be that you were covering up your negative view.

If in the midst of a conversation, someone used the word ‘nice’  she would automatically switch off or request a deeper explanation as to why the particular thing was ‘nice’

There must be a better word than nice, she would say. To her, describing something as nice would just qualify it as being mediocre, unassuming or just basically plain. To her, using ‘nice’ is just sitting on the fence.

This all came back to me the other day when I signed off a text with ‘have a nice day’. ‘What exactly did I mean? What type of day was I actually wishing on this person?

It then dawned on me, ‘nice’ is not a nice word.

If, during a conversation the word ‘nice’ can raise eyebrows, or cause someone to switch off then imagine the effect when it appears in a work of fiction or non fiction.  This would give the reader  the opportunity to cast the book aside.

So, next time, you are tempted to use the word ‘nice’ whether in writing or speech, pause and think. What exactly do you want to say. Are you sure that ‘nice’ is the only choice you have ?  Once you are sure as to what as to what you want to say or the message you wish to convey, take a look at the list below and see if ‘nice’ can be replaced with one of them.

    • Kind
    • Decent
    • Congenial
    • Agreeable
    • Courteous
    • Warm
    • Cordial
    • Humane
    • Attractive
    • Benevolent
    • Thoughtful
    • Gracious
    • Considerate
    • Becoming
    • Charming
    • Commendable
    • Considerate
    • Copacetic
    • Courteous
    • Decorous
    • Delightful
    • Favorable
    • Genial
    • Gentle
    • Gracious
    • Helpful
    • Ingratiating
    • Inviting
    • Kindly
    • Nifty
    • Obliging
    • Pleasant
    • Pleasurable
    • Polite
    • Prepossessing
    • Seemly
    • Simpatico
    • Tasty
    • Exquisite

In light of this, lets give ‘nice’ a well deserved rest and think of another word which is capable of both filling in the gap and  stretching the imagination.

If you can think of any substitute let me know.


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