Struggling to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? Me, too. Maybe, in trying to improve my own work, I can help other writers.
Today’s words: Gadget, Gleefully, Gourmet/Gourmand, Get her back up, Liberosis, Garbage.
Synonyms are alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Gadget: some synonyms are object, contrivance, instrument, and tool. We could also explore artifice, gimmick, invention, contraption, gizmo, apparatus, device, improvisation, utensil, thingummy, whatsit, and doodah.
Usage for Gadget:
‘These days, there seems to be a gadget for almost every activity, but how many of them actually work, or save time and effort, is open to debate.’
‘Henry, pass me that gadget for opening those bottles, will you?’
‘Tired of breaking her fingernails when removing staples from documents, Jenny invented a gadget to do the job, entirely unaware that the staple extractor had been around for many years.’
In the first sentence, ‘gizmo’ might emphasise the sense of cynicism better.
In the second sentence, the speaker is clearly groping for a word he/she can’t recall and ‘thingummy’, ‘whatsit’, or ‘doodah’ might give the sentence a touch more character.
In the last sentence, Jenny might better invent a ‘tool’, ‘device’ or ‘instrument’. What do you think?
Adverbs: words we all use incredibly often, lazily taking the easy route instead of diligently looking for stronger verbs.
‘Theresa would often gleefully attempt to confound her critics by speaking in platitudes and soundbites.’
Here, since Theresa is clearly mistaken in her efforts to muddy the waters, we might try; ‘Theresa’s use of soundbites and platitudes to deflect criticism alerted her critics to her devious nature.’ These two sentences effectively say the same thing, but the language now more closely echoes the feelings of the speaker.
Words often misused: English, because of its inheritance of words stolen from many languages, often uses words that superficially appear to mean something similar. However, as wordsmiths, we owe it to our readers to get it right, don’t you think?
Gourmet/Gourmand: a gourmet is someone with refined, discriminating tastes for food and wine. A gourmand, however, is a greedy pig, a glutton.
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.
Get her back up: this expression means to annoy or irritate someone.
‘David had a way of treating his wife that frequently seemed to get her back up.’ We could say, ‘David treated his wife in ways that often irritated her.’
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.
Liberosis: a wish to be less concerned about things, a desire to be free of general anxiety.
And, from now, there’ll be my own, hopefully humorous, definition of some common words for your entertainment, which I’ll list under The Delusional Dictionary.
Garbage: outpourings of inadequate managers, often in the form of jargon; the words dripping from the mouths of dishonest politicians; the result of using poor evidence when creating some theory; the fundamental basis for certain religious beliefs.
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