Do you sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Maybe, in helping myself, I can help other writers.
For over a year, I’ve been posting pieces titled ‘Looking for the Best Word?’. I reached post 70 at the end of 2017 and decided a different approach could help remotivate me and might be more use to other writers.
So, this first post is a bit longer than the rest will be, but includes an introduction about what I might talk about. I’ll illustrate only a couple of these each week, making the posts easy to read and apply.
Synonyms: alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Antonyms: useful words that say the opposite of other words.
Redundancies: words serving no purpose. In speech, they’re spacers, giving the speaker time to think. But in writing they slow the reader’s progress.
Clichés: expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…Here, I could’ve used a cliché to illustrate what a cliché might be.
Adverbs: words we all use incredibly often, lazily taking the easy route instead of diligently looking for stronger verbs.
And there’ll be occasional odd examples of word choice and usage for your entertainment.
Today’s words: Advance forward, Backing.
Advance forward is an example of redundancy. Since we can advance only by moving forward, either ‘advance’ or ‘forward’ will do, depending on the sense of the sentence.
‘Corporal Jeggins told his men to advance forward toward the enemy lines.’ We can make this simpler; ‘Corporal Jeggins told his men to advance’ (“toward the enemy lines” could be included if that was essential information in the context of the sentence).
Backing: a noun with a few alternatives. E.g. lining, aid, approbation. Obviously, which we choose will depend on the sense of the word in our sentence.
‘Brigitte used some old newspaper as backing for the package, hoping this would keep it safe in the post.’ Here, the usage is in the sense of ‘lining’, or ‘stuffing’, ‘wadding’, or ‘padding’.
‘If we wish the venture to succeed, it could really do with some backing.’ Here, the sense is of ‘aid’, or ‘assistance’, ‘encouragement’, or ‘sponsorship’.
‘Harvey’s attempts to mollify the crowd deserved backing, if the people were to understand the reality of the situation.’ In this sentence ‘backing’ is used in the sense of ‘approbation’, or ‘approval’, ‘commendation’ or ‘appreciation’.
Simile: A figure of speech in which two things are compared, often using ‘like’ or ‘as’.
‘The young bride, contemplating the older man she must marry, was pale as paper unmarked.’
‘As the single volume fell from her startled hands, its pages flapped liked wings until it struck the floor.’
Any language learners might find this link useful for pronunciation, and you’ll reach a great group page on Facebook if you click this link.
I contribute a monthly column to an online magazine, Pandora’s Box Gazette where I also deal with the use of words. To see it, click this link.
I welcome observations and suggestions here. Please use the comments section below for any ideas and thoughts.
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