Elevate Your Writing & Self-Image With a Thesaurus or AI with ChatGPT

When most people write, they usually just use basic words. This is likely because people tend to write the same way their peers write and because their vocabulary may just be limited. Occasionally, however, you may read a note or email from someone and you suddenly perceive them in a different light. Their style of writing and choice of words may make you feel they are smarter than you, as much as you may wish not to admit that. If this happens in the workplace, you may even proceed with caution as you may feel that this person is at a higher level than you which can seem intimidating. Luckily, you don’t need to memorize a vast vocabulary or have a PhD just to sound smarter than others.


A simple thesaurus like the one included in Grammarly or a dedicated and powerful one like Power Thesaurus can elevate your writing and self-image at the click of a button. Consider the following basic words and some of their synonyms.

Basic WordSynonyms
make betterimprove, enhance, advance, bolster, strengthen, enrich
manynumerous, multitude, myriad, legion, abundant, copius, heaps, oodles, plethora
stupidabsurd, inane, moronic, farcical, imbecilic, ludicrous, daft, preposterous, lame
showdisplay, demonstrate, exhibit, reveal, manifest, depict, materialize
poorimpoverished, destitute, pathetic, poverty-stricken, pitiful, feeble, meager
walkstroll, hike, wander, trek, trudge, meander

As you can see, without looking at one’s resume (or LinkedIn profile), using more descriptive words can hint that the author is educated, intellectual, knowledgeable, cultured, and not someone to mess with 🙂 Now, I’m not suggesting that you specifically choose synonyms that are so rarely used that people need to look up their meaning. That would be annoying to readers and could backfire as people would know that you’re intentionally choosing rare words instead of trying to communicate clearly and effectively.

Compare the following sentences and see which ones sound more interesting and lend an air of sophistication.

  1. Sometimes, I come across a video that shows poor people in many places around the world.
  2. Occasionally, I’d chance upon a documentary that depicts extreme poverty in various locations around the globe.
  1. I can’t help but wonder why many of these countries don’t appear to be growing whereas others that used to be poor, like China and Singapore, have become rich in a relatively short period of time.
  2. I can’t help but ponder as to why many of these countries don’t appear to be advancing whilst others that used to be destitute, like China and Singapore, have become prosperous in a relatively short timeframe.


Another tip for making your writing more interesting is by using adjectives, especially adjectives that come before the words the describe. Compare the following phrases and see which ones sound better.

  1. This is not just another guidebook.
  2. This is not just another cliched guidebook.
  1. Manhattan is known for its skyscrapers.
  2. Manhattan is known for its gleaming skyscrapers.
  1. Jakarta is full of toll roads.
  2. Jakarta is full of imposing toll roads.
  1. Beijing is covered in pollution.
  2. Beijing is enveloped in a gigantic cloud of pollution.
  1. In the plane, we could smell the odor of durian.
  2. In the plane, we could smell the unmistakable odor of durian.
  1. He discussed issues related to city administration.
  2. He discussed civic issues.
  1. Our visit to Palm Springs was on a hot day.
  2. Our visit to Palm Springs was on a stiflingly hot day.


Another technique is to use analogies. Compare the following.

  1. The auto rickshaw is a noisy 3-wheel vehicle.
  2. The auto rickshaw is a noisy 3-wheel vehicle. It is undoubtedly the cockroach of the automotive world.
  • The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

Artificial Intelligence

I just started playing around with ChatGPT artificial intelligence. I tested it to rewrite the two first sentences above in a “better” way. Shockingly, it did an amazing job!


To summarize the above into a step-by-step process, you can do the following:

  1. Write as you normally do
  2. ChatGPT: Use ChatGPT to improve your writing.
  3. Synonyms: If necessary, use a thesaurus to choose better words.
  4. Adjectives: Consider prefixing words with adjectives without being excessive.
  5. Analogies: If possible, add analogies, again, without being excessive.

Following are some tools for finding synonyms.

Power Thesaurus

This is my favorite because it’s super easy to use and offers probably the most synonyms than any alternative. Looking up definitions of a synonym can easily be done inline while browsing a list of synonyms. The website version looks like this.

Switching between your editing window and the Power Thesaurus window can be annoying and time-consuming. To remedy this, you can install the Power Thesaurus browser extension (this one is for Chrome). Clicking on a word will display an icon that, when clicked on, will trigger a tooltip-like overlay showing a few synonyms.

If you want even more synonyms and more features in the overlay, you can upgrade for $4 / month or $30 / year.


Grammarly has an online editing interface. You can edit your content directly in Grammarly’s website and while editing, you can double-click on a word to see an overlay of synonyms. There are not many synonyms which is why I prefer Power Thesaurus.