Writing and Publishing

Being Right Doesn’t Always Matter

When I first entered the workforce, I asked an older, wiser friend to review my resume. She chastised me for using the word telephony, laughing at my “made-up word.”

Even though I used it correctly and my prospective employers would (likely) understand it, my friend’s mirth and Master’s degree intimidated me, so I removed telephony from my resume.

Another time, I heard about a man who correctly used the word niggardly, which means stingy, but people thought he made a racial slur; he was fired over it. (Read about some other confusing words.)

Recently I learned a word I really want to use: theocrasy. This would fit nicely in a book I’m working on, but I fear readers will misread it or think I made a typo and meant theocracy, which conveys a different idea. (It doesn’t help that both words are pronounced the same.)

My conclusion is that being right doesn’t matter if people misunderstand what you’re saying.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.