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Substituting One Word for Many: Brevity, says Shakespeare, is the soul of wit. Saying things in the fewest possible words has its own charm. It has become all the more important in the present day world in which life has become so fast. The modern man has neither time nor patience to waste words. Out of sheer necessity, he has to brief and terse, concise and precise. He wants to convey the maximum possible meaning in minimum possible words. It has become necessary for the modern man to condense and compress hi ideas into the fewest possible words. One Word Substitution can be of great help in condensation. Substituting a single word for a group of words is an important part of the technique of brevity without superfluity.

Great care should be taken in substituting one word for many. We should clearly understand whether the one word to be given is expected to be singular or plural. One word must be in the desired form.
For instance:-

1. Words similar in meaning = Synonyms
2. Words opposite in meaning = Antonyms
3. Incidents which serve as examples in future = Precedents
4. Those who walk on foot = Pedestrians
5. Those who look on the bright side of things = Optimists
6. Plays full of fun and laughter = Comedies

Are six groups of words which expect each of the One Word in plural form? But the same groups expect the One Word to be in the singular form; as:-

1. A word which is similar to another in meaning = Synonym
2. A word which is opposite to another in meaning = Antonym
3. An incident which serves as an example in future = Precedent
4. A person who walks on foot = Pedestrian
5. One who look on the bright side of things = Optimist
6. A play full of fun and laughter = Comedy

Now look at the following group of words:-

1. A child who runs away from school = Truant
2. A person who looks on the bright side of things = Optimist
3. A person who looks on the dark side of things = Pessimist
4. One who believes in fate = Fatalist
5. One who makes a show of superiority = Snob

The above five groups of words refer to persons and the One Word for each one of them is expected to be a concrete noun. So all five substitutions are concrete noun- Truant, Optimist, Pessimist, Fatalist and Snob.

Now look at the following group of words:-

1. Running away from school= Truancy
2. Looking on the bright side of things = Optimism
3. Looking on the dark side of things = Pessimism
4. Believing in fate = Fatalism
5. Making a show of superiority = Snobbery

The above five groups of words refer to abstract things and the One Word for each one of them is expected to be an abstract noun. So all the five substitutions are abstract nouns- Truancy, optimism, pessimism, Fatalism and Snobbery.

Sample Usage


1. Giving birth before the right time ----------- Abortion
2. Period of life between childhood and maturity ----------- Adolescence
3. One who talks ill of others in their absence ------------- Backbiter
4. Having two husbands or wives at a time -------------- Bigamy
5. One who eats human flesh ------------ Cannibal
6. A vote which decides the matter --------------- Casting-vote
7. Attack on the good reputation of a person --------- Defamation
8. A cruel ruler with unlimited powers ---------- Despot
9. To throw light on a subject ---------- Elucidate
10. Words written on the grave of a person ----------- Epitaph
11. Which results or ends in death ------------- Fatal
12. That which can be done ---------- Feasible
13. Mass murder of race or community ------- Genocide
14. A person who eats too much ---------- Glutton
15. A person living long -------- Hermit
16. Killing a human being ---------- Homicide
17. Knowing nothing ------- Ignorant
18. Against law ------ Illegal
19. A common man without professional knowledge ------------ layman
20. A book in which accounts are kept ------------ Ledger

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