Do you sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Perhaps, in improving myself, I can help other writers.
Today’s words: Disinterested/Uninterested, Cacophony of sound, Kilig.
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?
Disinterested/Uninterested: The confusion of these two words has become so ubiquitous that even professional journalists misuse them. The distinction is, however, really very simple.
Disinterested means neutral, unbiased, not on any side in a debate/argument.
So, it would be correct to say, ‘The UN is generally disinterested when dealing with worldwide conflicts.’ Meaning that, as an international organisation, it takes no sides, other than attempting to keep to the moral high ground.
Uninterested, on the other hand, means not interested, bored with the subject.
So, we could say, ‘Jeremy felt he had heard every argument ever posed about facial hair and was now uninterested in the subject.’ As a hirsute man, he’s obviously become bored with the strange debates that continue about men and beards. The real vanity is that men shave off their facial hair.
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.
Cacophony of sound: a cacophony is a loud noise, often unwelcome. So, we don’t need to use ‘of sound’ here to describe the experience. The word ‘cacophony’ will express the loudness of the noise entirely unaided by a qualifier.
‘What Bill described as the wonder of the wall of sound from the heavy metal group he’d worshipped all his adult life, Lisa considered no more than a cacophony from which she wished to protect her ears!’
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
Kilig (Tagalog) describes that odd fluttering feeling that often besets us when talking to someone we fancy.
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