Words tell stories. They can start wars and stop fights, bring us together and tear us apart. We must be careful of what we say and how we say it, knowing that different words have different connotations and implications. Words can be weapons or armor, and we must decide how we use them. I've explored how so much can change once one understands these connotations. By opening a thesaurus and learning a lesson or two in semantics, we can completely alter the overall significance of anything we say.

Take this little story:

The world was once not dark, but now the sky is dark. The sun is gone, and there’s darkness in the eyes of the children. The dark streets mirror the dark souls of the dark world. Darkness seeps underneath doorways, darkness fills the windows, and darkness engulfs the whole home. When they wake up in the morning, all is dark; when they go to sleep at night, all is dark. But that’s the way it’s always been. Then came the day it was dark when they tried to walk their dogs, it was dark when they try to buy their groceries, and it was dark when they take their break at work. Now man’s best friend is nowhere to be found, food is more than scarce, and there’s no point in getting up to go to the office. The darkness arrived, and it never left. The apocalypse didn’t come to pass because of zombies. The crops didn’t die because of global warming. The world didn’t live long enough to see World War III.

He once said, “Let there be not dark,” and there was no dark. Now they scream to rid of the darkness, and nothing comes of it. The sun died, and the darkness rose again.

Now read it a second time, remembering the significant difference a small change makes:

The world was once illuminated, but now the sky is starless. The sun is gone, and there’s despair in the eyes of the children. The unilluminated streets mirror the wicked souls of the dull world. Shadows seep underneath doorways, immorality fills the windows, and crepuscule engulfs the whole home. When they wake up in the morning, all is like obsidian; when they go to sleep at night, all is like onyx. But that’s the way it’s always been. Then came the day it was pitch black when they tried to walk their dogs, it was gray when they try to buy their groceries, and it was dim when they took their break at work. Now man’s best friend is nowhere to be found, food is more than scarce, and there’s no point in getting up to go to the office. The blackness arrived, and it never left. The apocalypse didn’t come to pass because of zombies. The crops didn’t die because of global warming. The world didn’t live long enough to see World War III.

He once said, “Let there be light,” and there was radiance. Now they scream to rid of the twilight, and nothing comes of it. The sun died, and the void rose again.

A repetitive and weak story about darkness becomes a story about loss, despair, and living after the world has lost all hope. Words have a power that cannot be taken away. It is up to us to take advantage of that gift. Let words be our candle amongst the darkness.