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

The #Write #Word? Post 53

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Find it hard to discover the ‘right’ word when writing? So do I, sometimes. In working to improve my own writing, maybe I can help other writers.

Today’s words: Taboo, Time period, Temper tantrum, Tory.

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

Taboo: Roget provides four sub-headings; set apart, exclude, prohibited, and bewitch. Under ‘prohibited’ are listed another 30 suggested alternatives including forbidden, barred, banned, outlawed, frowned on, unmentionable, and ostracized.

Usage for Taboo:

‘Although death is an inevitable consequence of life, as a topic of discussion it is taboo in many societies.’ We could express the same sense by using ‘forbidden’, ‘barred’, ‘banned’, ‘unmentionable’, and ‘frowned on’, depending on the level of severity we wish to express.

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.

Time period: Time, ah time; that elastic, unbending, artificial, crucial, and ultimately depressing quality that so often seems to rule our lives! This expression, however, is just plain silly. We can use ‘time’ on its own, or a period (either specified or not) alone to express the same thing, so their use together is a tautology and should be avoided.

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.

Temper tantrum:

What is a tantrum other than the expression of lost temper? We don’t need to add ‘temper’ to tantrum, as the word works perfectly on its own.

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.

Tory: an often deluded individual who confuses business dogma with social advantage; frequently a good person who allows ignorance to overrule both compassion and the realities of poverty in order to make him/her feel better about a lack of kindness; in the case of a politician, a stubborn insistence on dogma over fact, unless such dogma adversely impacts on the ability to make money from the disadvantaged; an undemocratic movement aimed at maintaining the rich at the expense of those less well off.

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

I welcome your observations and suggestions here. And, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to share it with your followers and friends. Thank you.

6 Responses to “The #Write #Word? Post 53”

  1. Damyanti Biswas

    I often don’t get the right word. It takes me many many drafts to find the word I didn’t know I was looking for, when it slides home exactly where it belongs.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • stuartaken

      Ah, words, Damyanti. Elusive little beggars, aren’t they? As the years catch up with me, I find I know more words, but can I recall them at need? It often takes some time!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • Damyanti Biswas

        Words are our soldiers, but words are also the enemy.

        How do you pin down the intangible?

        Words are pins and labels, often trapping a dead butterfly on a board, no flutter or colour in the wings, no zest for another moment, no thirst after flowers.

        Dead things, words, most of the time, scarabs on the page– till one day they come together in just the right order at the right time, and bring us a glimpse of something else.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        • stuartaken

          There speaks the poet.
          I’d add that words, for all that dictionaries define them, are often, through use and abuse, misrepresented and placed inappropriately. It’s up to those of us who work with words to ensure they say what they mean wherever possible.
          And isn’t it delightful, satisfying, wonderful when that string of words expresses our meaning precisely as we intend?

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          • Damyanti Biswas

            Hahhahaha hardly a poet. Just a blocked novelist who is trying to find the right words. Well, I’ve had enough ‘suggestive’ instead of ‘suggested’ and ‘discreet’ instead of ‘discrete’ to know what you mean, and empathise. I hardly ever correct them, unless i know the writer/blogger is open to feedback, even in private.

            The joy of getting that Precise string of words is worth the entire slog of a writing life.

            Liked by 2 people

            Reply

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