The #Write #Word? Post 24

Word cloud via

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:  Pathos, Prescribe/Proscribe, Pair of twins, Pope.

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

Pathos: is a quality exciting pity or sadness. Roget lists the following headers; feeling, excitation, and painfulness. Under ‘painfulness’ are a further 95 suggestions including roughness, beastliness, thorn in the flesh, bitterness, ordeal, cross, sad spectacle, disillusionment and predicament. Pathos is often used to describe writing with the power to stir tenderness or melancholy.

Usage for Pathos:

‘Pamela’s emotional poetry stirred such pathos that it caused many listeners to weep.’

‘Keen to sell his car, Brian employed pathos in his advert, hoping potential buyers might believe his lies about the reasons for the sale and be more likely to pay good money for the worthless vehicle.’

Words often misused: because it has stolen terms from many languages, English 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?

Prescribe/Proscribe: two words with opposing meanings. Something proscribed by an authority is banned. Those things advised or recommended, for example drugs for patients, are prescribed.

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.

Pair of twins:

Can we have more than a pair when we talk of twins? We can have fewer, if a surviving twin is left. But, in general usage, ‘twins’ will suffice to describe people born of the same mother at the same time.

And, my own, sometimes humorous, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes controversial definitions of some common words for your entertainment, which I’ll list under The Delusional Dictionary.

Pope: a male cleric suffering under the delusion that he has a direct line to a deity; a control freak; a man without knowledge of women, given to advising and instructing others on the intricacies and problems of marriage; a man lacking sexual experience prone to commanding lovers to desist from such activity unless he has sanctioned it.

Language learners might find this link useful for pronunciation, and you’ll find a great group page on Facebook via 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, please use the buttons below to share it with your friends. Thank you.