Sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Maybe, in helping myself, I can help other writers.
I posted pieces titled ‘Looking for the Best Word?’ until the end of 2017, when I reached post 70. I thought a slightly different approach could help remotivate me and be of more use to other writers.
Today’s words: Labour, Labour of love, and Syllepsis.
Synonyms are alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Labour: this word can be used as a verb and a noun and has many synonyms, which can be applied according to context. Examples include, repeat oneself (vb), obstetrics (n), move slowly (vb), emphasise (vb), exaggerate (vb), job (n), work (vb), personnel (n), hard task (n), and bore (n).
‘Sean decided against robbery, not through any moral concern but because he feared a sentence of years of hard labour should he be caught.’ Here, we could substitute ‘labour’ with ‘work’.
‘Mary went into labour early and couldn’t reach the hospital in time, so gave birth at home.’ Here, ‘labour’ refers to the act of giving birth, and there’s no generally suitable single word substitute. We could, of course, use ‘parturiate’ or ‘parturition’ if context allowed such medical terms. But, such alternatives would sound forced if used in general writing.
‘Labour’ is also the name of a political party in the UK formed to support the working class.
Clichés: expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…here, I could use a cliché to illustrate what a cliché might be.
Labour of love: a labour of love is an act performed out of devotion to the task or to the recipient of the act.
‘For Jason, sifting through mud on the shore was a labour of love feeding his fascination with fossils.’
‘Jennifer baked cakes as a labour of love to satisfy Simon’s sweet tooth.’
For Jason, we could try: ‘For Jason, sifting through mud on the shore fed his passion for collecting fossils.’
And, for Jennifer, we could use: ‘Although Jennifer was indifferent to cakes, she regularly baked them to make Simon happy.’
Figure of Speech:
Syllepsis: A figure in which a word is made to cover more than one function in the same sentence, whilst agreeing grammatically with only one of these, or is applied to two words in different senses, as, for instance the literal and the metaphorical.
‘Fred took the pills and his life.’
‘Sara slaved through the night and the task.’
I started the series on figures of speech in the earlier posts, which you can search for under ‘Looking for the Best Word?’ if this interests you. In these newer posts, I’ll continue to the end of the alphabetical list I started with.
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 welcome observations and suggestions. Please use the comments section below for any ideas and thoughts. And, if you’ve found this post useful, why not share it using the buttons provided? Thank you.