The #Write #Word? Post 11

Thanks to for the word cloud generator!

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: Pig-headed/Amenable, Incredible to believe, In the event of, Weltschmerz

Antonyms: words that express the opposite of other words. They can be hard to find, and thesauruses usually don’t give examples. When lost for such opposites, I grab ‘The New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms’ published 1986, which generally solves my dilemma. Other such books are available.


Pig-headed: among the synonyms are; obstinate, stubborn, mulish, rigid, intransigent, unbending, ultraconservative, set in one’s ways.

Amenable: Some of the synonyms for this are; willing, obedient, acquiescent, compliant, favourable, predisposed, genial, gracious, cordial, dependable.

Usage for Pig-headed:

‘There was something intrinsically difficult about Donald. Despite all the evidence, he remained pig-headed in his opposition to the facts about global climate change. Too stubborn and set in his ways to consider the rational arguments of well-informed scientists.’

Usage for Amenable:

‘In common with all real scientists, Brian was amenable to change. If the evidence for any phenomenon altered, he was willing to modify his ideas in line with those changes.’

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.

Incredible to believe: ‘Incredible’ means unbelievable, so the use of ‘to believe’ in this phrase is unnecessary. Use ‘incredible’ on its own.

Plain-Language Alternatives for Wordy Phrases: some writers, especially those new to the craft, tend to use more words than necessary. We can often substitute a single word for a phrase.

In the event of: this wordy phrase means something really simple: if. So, rather than writing, ‘In the event of a fire, please leave the building.’ We should write, ‘If there’s a fire, please leave the building.’ Some waggish pedants might suggest that this could encourage people to leave the building even if the fire was burning outside. But the same could be said for either way we express this.

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.

Weltschmerz (German): The feeling of depression you get when you see the world as it really is and realise it can never attain the ideal picture you carry of it in your head.

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 the most recent, please click this link.

Your observations and suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. And, if you’ve enjoyed this post, maybe use the buttons to share it with your friends? Thank you.

10 thoughts on “The #Write #Word? Post 11

  1. Now, this may a bit odd but I rated this particular post with five stars. I did that simply because you included the word “Weltschmerz”. I just think it sounds great – in the seventies, I took German in school after learning it in Switzerland.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the vote, Tom! It continues to surprise me that English, a language consisting of words stolen from other languages, still manages to have these odd gaps. It can sometimes generate weltschmerz, eh?


    1. That’s great, Livinia. I’m a bit of wordaholic, so have lots of books of words, and I enjoy reading most things, too. But writing, or playing with words, is my favourite solo pasttime. Enjoy your research.


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