Do you sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Perhaps, in improving myself, I can help other writers.
I’m sorry I was unable to place a post in this series last week. If you’re curious as to why, I’ll post a detailed explanation later, but, for now, please forgive the lapse: my iMac finally died, and it’s taken some time to replace it with a Windows PC and start the horrendously lengthy process of migrating all my stored data from the iCloud to my new machine.
Today’s words: Anticipate, Cold shoulder, Énouement.
Words often misused: English, because of its inheritance of words stolen from many languages, often uses words that superficially appear to mean more or less the same thing. However, as wordsmiths, we owe it to our readers to get it right, don’t you think?
Anticipate is frequently confused with ‘expect’. To expect something is to believe it may happen; but to anticipate it is to act in advance. To say a politician expects to win an election is correct; but to say he’s anticipating the position is to accuse him of arrogance. Of course, most politicians are arrogant, but that’s a different matter.
Cliché: a stereotyped or hackneyed expression; a phrase, opinion or other element of language that’s so overused it no longer holds power. However, clichés come into being as the result of their original and effective ability to describe a situation or quality in apposite terms. Their use should be sparing: in dialogue, they’re fine, providing the speaker would use them. They are words or expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…Here, I could use a cliché to illustrate what a cliché might be.
Cold shoulder: an expression meaning to ignore or to brush aside a person or an idea.
‘After Tony publicly declared his superiority to Sandra, the rest of the group gave him the cold shoulder.’
Untranslatable emotions: The world’s languages contain numerous words for emotions (and other things) for which English has no equivalent. Most people know ‘schadenfreude’, from German, and ‘frisson’, from French, but there are more, and I’ll introduce some here from time to time.
Énouement: That bittersweet sensation of arriving in the future, witnessing how things have turned out, but being unable to tell your past self.
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