If you find it hard to discover the ‘right’ word when writing, as I do sometimes, maybe I can help you as I try to improve my own work.
Today’s words: Pantomime, Pertaining to, Personal opinion, Priest.
Synonyms are alternative words that have the power to convey exactly what you’re trying to say.
Pantomime: Roget lists the following sub-headings; mimicry, spectacle, gesture, gesticulate, acting, and stage play.This word originally described an actor who conveyed emotion and meaning through gestures without words. But the most common meaning today is that of an entertainment, for children (mostly), using a convoluted plot, slapstick comedy, stereotypical grotesques and cross-dressing heroines/heroes. As creative writers, our most common usage involves metaphor in which we use‘pantomime’ to describe the irresponsible, bizarre, or surreal actions of an individual or group, often not involved in stagecraft at all. Probably the most relevant examples at present are the descriptions of Donald Trump’s extraordinary capering in the role of US President, and that of Theresa May, as Prime Minister of the UK, in dealing with the Brexit issue. Both individuals demonstrate bizarre, incredible, and even surreal behaviour in their desperate attempts to curry favour with their peers and voters.
Plain-LanguageAlternatives for Wordy Phrases: some writers, especially those new to the craft or writing in English as a second language, use more words than necessary. We can often substitute a single word for a phrase.
Pertaining to: this short phrase means ‘about’,‘on’, or ‘of’, so, as creative writers who care about word use, perhaps we should employ these simple words instead of trying to look clever by using a pompous phrase?
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.
Personal opinion: an opinion is always personal.Unless we’re reporting the opinion of someone else, and need to describe that view as belonging to that individual, we don’t need ‘personal’. And, even in the latter case, we can avoid ‘personal’ by naming the individual in relation to the opinion. ‘In Michael’s strident opinion…’ Much better.
And, my own humorous, metaphorical, and often irreverent, thought-provoking, and controversial definitions of some common words for your entertainment, which I list under The Delusional Dictionary.
Priest: a charlatan posing as a teacher/guide; a person who believes faith in something unproveable is more sensible than belief in something derived through evidence; any of a number of individuals who aim to spread their mythology to as many people as possible to expand their control over those who can’t be bothered to think for themselves.
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