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More Fun with Words: If It Is Broken, Update It

December 16, 2022
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A couple of weeks ago, we looked at how slight shifts in vocabulary can significantly affect our communication. Here is one other small but potentially significant change to consider: fixed, changed, updated, or edited.

These words seem to mean similar or identical things, but they don’t! 

Take this scenario: 
Client: Can you fix the sentence on the home page, it is bold, but it shouldn’t be. 
The natural reply would be: “fixed!” But I usually say, “updated.” 

Why does it matter? I have to admit; sometimes I get a little prideful, but beyond that, it wasn’t a mistake, so while it may be a fix to them, this is an update to me. I don’t want to communicate that I made a mistake when it wasn’t one.  

Let’s dive into these synonyms to explore the subtle changes in meaning.

Fixed: Implies there was something broken. It alludes to some level of culpability depending on the nature of the break. You fix problems – you can’t update or change them unless you try to add or modify them. 

Potential true synonym: corrected. 

Changed: This is a simple modification. It was this way, but now it is another. 100% pure lateral edits are usually described as being changed. 

Potential true synonym: modified. 

Updated: An update is usually an iteration for the better. You update the software, so you get the new features. 

Potential true synonym: modernized. 

Edited: At its core, an edit is a revision heading toward launch. The word is used chiefly in writing, video editing, or other creative mediums. It implies getting refined to be finished. For example, you wouldn’t say as a photographer; I changed the photos! You edited them. But you might make an update on a photo edit or fix something in a shot if you accidentally added a mullet to the groom and you are a wedding photographer. 

Potential true synonym: revised. 

You aren’t going to confuse someone by interchanging these words, but are you communicating clearly by using them interchangeably? 

Takeaway:
Choose your words wisely. Subtle changes can make significant differences in perception and communication!

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