The #Write #Word? Post 39

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Struggling to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? Me, too. Maybe, in working to improve my own work, I can help you.

Today’s words: Fantastic/Ordinary, Free gift, Forego/Forgo, Fashion,

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.


What does it mean to be ‘Fantastic’? It suggests something out of the ordinary, extraordinary, unusual, born of fantasy.

On the other hand, ‘Ordinary’ means just that; usual, normal, familiar, hackneyed, common.

Usage for Fantastic:

‘Wow! That’s fantastic!’ ‘Denise’s display of caricatures of leading politicians enthralled viewers with her accuracy and perception of their individual character traits, so most people thought her work fantastic.’

Usage for Ordinary:

‘Sorry, but I think that’s rather ordinary.’ ‘I wouldn’t bother going to see Theresa perform; she’s not special, in fact she’s no better than ordinary.’

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.

Free gift:

A gift is something bestowed without preconditions, expectations of reciprocation, or cost to the receiver. A gift, by definition, is free. The term ‘free gift’ is an advertising ruse used to trick potential buyers into believing they’re getting something for nothing when, usually, the ‘gift’ is either an enticement to buy more goods and services, or a simple lie to trick buyers out of their hard-earned cash. So, as creative writers, we’ll avoid using the phrase, won’t we?

Words often misused: because it’s stolen terms from many languages, English often uses words that appear to mean something similar. However, as wordsmiths, we owe it to our readers to get it right, don’t we?

Forego/Forgo: Forego means ‘placed in front of or before in time or place’. The final e in ‘before’ is a useful clue to usage. To forgo, however, is to relinquish or give something up.

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

Fashion: a trend, usually ephemeral, almost always designed to encourage people to spend money on things they don’t need; a wasteful industry almost entirely dependent on slave-labour for the creation of its goods; a false title applied to clothing to make ugly or impractical garments appealing to the gullible and vain.

Language learners may find this link a useful aid for pronunciation, and there’s a great group page on Facebook here.

I contribute a column to a monthly online magazine, Pandora’s Box Gazette, where I also deal with the use of words. For the most recent, please click here.

I’m ending this series with a final alphabetical run and will then close this chain of posts and move on to something new. I’ll have produced more than a year of these word posts by then. The series will remain available in the archive, should anyone wish to use 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.

2 thoughts on “The #Write #Word? Post 39

  1. Thank you, TaskGirl. Having just returned from a holiday in Italy, a language I speak only a few words of as courtesies, I was pleased at how many of the people understood English.
    I do these posts to help other writers and those who are learning English as a second language, so it’s good to know I’m providing something useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun post! I know many people who speak English very well as a second language, but still struggle with antonyms and synonyms. This is a perfect little guide! 😊👍

    Liked by 2 people

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