How to appropriately use the word 'KILL' in different contexts

I am very sure you must have come across one of the characteristics of language which states that "language is situational". This simply means that a speaker's choice of words or sentences is determined by a given situation or the situation he finds himself. In other words, a language user chooses his words or sentences based on a given situation.

How to appropriately use the word 'KILL' in different contexts

English is one language that is situational. With its richness in vocabulary and synonym, it presents before its speakers varieties of appropriate words to be used in any given context. For example, the word 'kill' has other words like 'massacre', 'murder', 'slaughter' and 'assassinate' as synonyms, and each can be used in different contexts to mean 'kill'. However, English users have oftentimes failed to validate the authenticity of this vital feature of the language by using 'kill' in all context. This is really inappropriate.

Unarguably, to kill means to make a person or an animal die, or to put an end to a life. However, when someone is deliberately and unlawfully killed, the word 'murder' becomes appropriate. For example, “She was murdered in cold blood”.

When a group of people is violently killed, the word 'massacre' should be used. For example, “The federal government massacred over 200 Bayelsans at Odi”.

When an animal is killed for its meat, skin or as part of religious ceremony, it becomes 'slaughter'. For example, “The animals have been slaughtered”.

'Slaughter' can also be used when a large number of people are killed in a cruel way.

In a situation where a prominent or well-known person is killed by a sudden or obscure attack, especially for ideological or political reasons, the word 'assassinate' is considered to be more appropriate. For example, “Lucky Dube was assassinated”.

From the foregoing, you can see that although 'kill' is the general term, it cannot be appropriate in certain context. The way in which the killing is done determines the appropriate word to use. Using the appropriate word in a given context prevents your listener from asking you the question, “how were they killed?”

Tamuno Reuben

Those who seek knowledge seek power because the pen is mightier than the sword.

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