Struggling to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? You’re not alone. Maybe, in trying to improve my own work, I can help other writers.
Today’s words: Ubiquitous, Unexpected surprise, Until such time as, Uitwaaien, University.
Synonyms are alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Ubiquitous: listed synonyms in Roget’s are, general, universal, and ubiquitous. Under ‘ubiquitous’ are these: omnipresent, permeating, pervading, pervasive, and universal. But what does ‘Ubiquitous’ actually mean? The dictionary definition is succinct – ‘present, appearing, or found everywhere: omnipresent’.
Usage for Ubiquitous:
‘These days, the mobile phone seems ubiquitous; one can find it in the most unlikely places and rarely can it be escaped.’
‘Everywhere you go, someone is indulging in a selfie; it seems this self-obsession is now ubiquitous.’
In both these sentences we could use ‘pervasive’ and ‘omnipresent’ as synonyms, though the phrase ‘all-pervasive’ might be more appropriate.
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.
Surprise, surprise! If something is unexpected, it’s a surprise. If it’s expected, it’s not a surprise. So, let’s exclude the ‘unexpected’ shall we, and leave that surprise to stand alone.
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.
Until such time as: simply a wordy way of saying ‘until’. ‘Until such time as politicians understand that honesty is a required quality for public trust, people will continue to distrust them.’ Can be easily and, effectively expressed as; ‘Until politicians understand honesty is a required quality for public trust, people will continue to distrust them.’
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.
Uitwaaien (Dutch) – describes the revitalising effects of taking a walk in the wind.
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.
University: an institution originally designed as a means of educating the intelligent and now transformed into a means of making profit from the commonplace; a college with ideas above its station; a meeting place for those unready for employment.
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