The #Write #Word? Post 42

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

Today’s words: Insouciance, Instantly, In the near future, Insidious/Invidious, Idea.

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

Insouciance: means carefreeness, a lack of concern. Roget lists three sub-headings; negligence, moral insensibility, and indifference, but misses out ‘nonchalance’, which is probably the nearest synonym in terms of mood and tone.

Usage for Insouciance:

‘Ah, this is the life, as I head for the beach, towel and book under my arm and insouciance in my heart, as the sun lays my shadow before me.’

Adverbs, as the word describes, are an addition to a verb. A strong verb always wins over an adverb propping up a weak one. Alternatively, a change in sentence structure can help to express the same idea in a better way.

Instantly: a word that indicates urgency, immediateness, something that happens now, at once.

‘I want you to do it instantly!’ A more concise command would be; ‘Do it now!’

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.

In the near future: this expression means shortly, soon. If possible, we should use a single word rather than an expression to make our meaning clear. So, unless you’re contrasting an event with something that may happen in the distant future, it’s probably best to use ‘soon’, ‘shortly’, or ‘imminently’ instead.

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?

Insidious/Invidious Both unpleasant, but ‘insidious’ means progressing secretly or subtly, treacherous, crafty. Invidious means giving offence or likely to offend or arouse ill-feeling.

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.

Idea: any half-baked collection of words that superficially appears to make sense; a thought stolen from another and claimed as one’s own; an understanding providing the thinker with instant gratification that diminishes as soon as common sense cuts in.  

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.