The #Write #Word? Post 13

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Sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Maybe, in trying to improve my own work, I can help other writers.

Today’s words: Earn, In order that, Especially, Echo back, Lachesism, Politician.

Synonyms are alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.

Earn: synonyms in Roget’s include: busy oneself, acquire, deserve. Under the sub-heading ‘acquire’ are copious other alternatives including get by effort, obtain, draw, accumulate, win one’s bread, get money, recoup, and attain. And, under ‘deserve’ we find merit, be worthy, receive one’s due, and get one’s come-uppance.

Earn is one of those English words that is open to abuse. We so often hear of company executives earning huge salaries, expressed in a manner that attempts to suggest they somehow deserve these sums. Logic shows that no individual’s input can be worth many times more than another’s, since we’re all interdependent.

Let’s look at usage for Earn:

‘If you want respect in any field of endeavour, you have to earn it.’ We could use ‘be worthy’, deserve’ or ‘merit’ here instead.

‘Sheila spent fourteen hours each day in training, honing her skills to be the very best she could. There’s no doubt she earned that gold medal.’ Here, we could use ‘deserved’ or ‘merited’ instead.

‘Many highly-paid executives earn huge sums of money. Whether they deserve such rewards is open to debate, however.’ And, here, we could use ‘acquire’, ‘obtain’, ‘draw’ and ‘accumulate’ in place of ‘earn’.

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

In order that: this three word phrase is verbose. What it means is ‘so’. ‘If you want to use language effectively, it’s essential that you read a lot in order that you find alternative ways of expressing yourself.’ This can be written better as, ‘To use language effectively, it’s essential you read a lot so you find different ways to express yourself.’

Adverbs: words we all use incredibly often, lazily taking the easy route instead of diligently looking for stronger verbs.


‘Genevieve has always seemed especially bright.’ Maybe try, ‘Genevieve has always seemed brilliant.’

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.

Echo back: by definition, an echo is the return of a sound, the coming back of a noise. So ‘back’ is unnecessary. Echo can work unaided.

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.

Lachesism: The wish to be struck by a disaster; maybe a car crash, or an all-consuming fire in the hope it may distort the smooth run of your life, and form something hard and sharp to replace the complacency you experience daily.

And, from now, there’ll be my own, hopefully humorous, definition of some common words for your entertainment, which I’ll list under The Sarky Dictionary.

Politician: An individual suffering from delusions of grandeur; one who believes his opinions and beliefs overrule those of all others; a man (usually, but not always) with ambitions to control everyone foolish enough to believe his lies.

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, why not use the buttons to share it with your friends? Thank you.


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