Books, writing, reading and words. I love them; do you?

The #Write #Word? Post 40

gaffer

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Do you struggle to find the ‘right’ word when you’re writing? Sometimes, I do, too. Maybe, in working to improve my own work, I can help you.

Today’s words: Gaffer, Grow in size, Green-eyed monster, Genre,

Synonyms are alternative words that have the power to convey exactly what you’re trying to say.

Gaffer: Roget lists 4 sub-headings: old man, male, manager, and country dweller. Under ‘manager’ are another 59 suggestions including responsible person, man or woman in charge, politician, greeve, supervisor, ganger, warden, custodian and ringmaster. No doubt we’ve all come across the ubiquitous gaffer tape (also known as duct tape), which appears to have so many uses we can only wonder how the world progressed before its introduction!

Uses for gaffer:

‘Gordon’s our gaffer; if you’ve got a grouse about the work, you’d best talk to the guvnor!’

‘Gloria as gaffer? You can’t have no woman as boss; she’ll…well, to be honest, she’ll probably get things done right, and on time!’ I leave it to you to reach conclusions about the characters making these statements.

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.

Grow in size:

The proper meaning of ‘grow’ is to increase, so the common usage of ‘growing smaller’ is an oxymoron, and incorrect. Since ‘grow’ means to increase, ‘grow in size’ is a tautology, and good writers always avoid such poor usage, don’t we?

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 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.

Green-eyed monster:

Beloved of inferior poets and writers of purple-prose romance, ‘green-eyed monster’ describes the jealous type. Jealousy is, of course, a seriously destructive emotion that can affect accuser as much as victim. To be jealous is to be insecure, lacking in self-confidence or esteem, suspicious, possessive, and judgmental. So, rather than describe your poor deluded lover as a ‘green-eyed monster’, perhaps try to give the reader some insight into the unfortunate’s character by describing the emotions that have led to this negative state.

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.

Genre: a system of book classification devised by unimaginative publishers as a way of controlling their authors; a method of dividing readers into tribes; a system of labels designed to fool the unwary into buying books by promising more of the same.

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.

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.

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