The written word is an amazing thing. How we interpret the words on the page is incredible. A poem can bring us to tears, a scene in a book can cause us to relive an experience, but words are also open to interpretation as we can all read between the lines rather than what they are directly telling us.

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Questions are difficult, if there’s no relevant information. Everything is open to interpretation and this is where problems arises with social media. It’s how we interpret other people’s choice of words when we are just reading their questions or comments. Words need to be carefully chosen as each word has several meanings and can change the tone of the piece or question. Just check your dictionary. With the internet being global we all need to be aware that language in one country may also change the meanings of words too. Lost in translations, as they say.

When writing a novel we draw on our life experiences . The words we are using are injected with our emotions .i.e. a lost love, a death, a rape, jealousy etc. This gives a edge to any scene we are writing, if we have experience such drama in our own lives, so it affects our choice of words. Yes, we can imagine what it must be like to lose a child, if we are a parent. Yet someone who isn’t a parent may imagine what it might feel like, if they chose the right words to create the scene, then the reader will experience the raw emotions through the words on the page. I often find myself changing words because of how they sound, and then having to check that the meanings is the one I think it is.

That’s the magic of language, especially the English language. English is a West Germanic language first spoken in early medieval England according to Wikipedia. The English language is a mixture of many other languages which has been added to it over the course of its development for more than 1,400 years. This explains why commonly used words tend to have more that one meaning, and can change the tone of a sentence. Language is a living entity, and when spoken is used with facial expressions which don’t translate to the page.

So next time you comment on social media remember language is open to interpretation, and your meaning maybe lost in translation. 😉

Lost In Translation


  1. Very true, Paula. A message posted on social media can often be open to misinterpretation, it’s a minefield. Choosing the right words is crucial, though you do seem to have the knack and I really enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true, Paula. Writing, including social media posts can be a minefield – misinterpretation and offence as the reader brings themselves and their experiences to it. Well chosen words from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You bring up good points. That’s why when I read a rude comment somewhere online, I try first to interpret it as poorly worded or typed in a rush or something because I don’t like to think of people being cruel even though, in reality, I know there is cruelty in the world and plenty of it online!

    Liked by 1 person

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