Struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? Sometimes, so do I. Maybe, in trying to improve my own work, I can help you.
Today’s words: Ardent/Apathetic, Afford an opportunity, Ahem, Adronitis, Author
Antonyms: words that express the opposite of other words can be hard to find, because thesauruses usually give no examples. When lost for such opposites, if I can’t dig a suitable word from my grey matter, I reach for ‘The New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms’ published 1986, which generally solves my dilemma.
Ardent/Apathetic: to be ardent is to be burning, fiery, glowing like fire, but it’s a word used mostly in its figurative sense of eager, fervent, zealous. To be apathetic is to be indifferent, uninterested.
Ardent: Roget lists the following sub-headings; fiery, forceful, active, hasty, fervent, desiring, loving, and pietistic. Under ‘fervent’ are another 45 suggestions including passionate, intense, eager, enthusiastic, hysterical, frenzied and furious.
Apathetic: The thesaurus has the following sub-headings; inert, slow, incurious, inattentive, inexpectant, choiceless, nonactive, inactive and apathetic. Under ‘apathetic’ are a further 51 alternatives including unenthusiastic, uninterested, lackadaisical, sluggish, passive and torpid.
Usage for Ardent:
‘Kevin, so ardent in his collection of steam engine numbers in his attempts to out-perform his colleagues, often strayed onto active railway lines. Eventually, his eagerness curtailed his activity permanently when an express diesel engine hit him.’
Usage for Apathetic:
‘Doris was so apathetic her friends suggested she might as well be dead for all the fun she made of life. It came as no surprise when they discovered her corpse behind a locked door she couldn’t be bothered to open even to search food and water.’
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.
Afford an opportunity: this is a wordy way of saying ‘allow’, ‘let’, ‘permit’, so shall we avoid it?
I recently decided to try my hand at poetry. The genre is enhanced by simile, metaphor, alliteration, analogy, rhythm, sometimes rhyme, and onomatopoeia, and can help in creating more effective prose. So, I thought I’d look at some of those qualities in these posts on language use.
Onomatopoeia: a word designed to imitate the sound associated with the object or action designated. Basically, an onomatopoeia is a word that echoes the sound it portrays. Most are either nouns or verbs. By adding ‘ing’, you can turn many into adjectives.
Ahem: we all know this sound, the quiet cough made by someone seeking attention or the silence of an audience expected to listen. How loud it can seem in the silence of a library.
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 introduce some from time to time.
Adronitis: This describes the frustration resulting from the time it sometimes takes to get to know someone.
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.
Author: an individual who uses parties to tell everyone about the book he intends to write; anyone with a pen, keyboard, or other means to set down words; rarely: someone who’s completed and published a piece of writing.
I’m continuing this series with a final alphabetical run before I close it and move to something new. It’ll have been more than a year of these word posts by then. And the series will remain available in the archive, should anyone wish to review it.
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.