When writing, do you find it hard to discover the ‘right’ word? I do, sometimes. In trying to improve my own work, perhaps I can help others.
Today’s words: Unhinged/Sane, Uselessly, Until such time as, Uniform.
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 deteriorating grey matter, I reach for ‘The New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms’ published 1986, which generally solves my dilemma.
Unhinged: Roget lists three subheadings as follows; deranged, disabled, and made mad. Under ‘deranged’ are a further 82 suggested alternatives including disturbed, muddled, confused, unbalanced, demented, and enraged.
Usage for Unhinged:
‘As opinions become more polarised in a world increasingly beset by conflict and man-made problems, more and more people show signs of being unhinged, and demonstrate their growing insanity by making statements without foundation or evidence.’
Here we could replace ‘unhinged’ with ‘disturbed’, ‘muddled’, ‘confused’, ‘unbalanced’, ‘demented’, and ‘enraged’ and alter the sentence only to reflect the level of insanity we wish to report.
Sane: Roget carries three subheadings; wise, sane, and intelligible. Under ‘sane’ are listed another 32 substitutes including normal, of sound mind, rational, reasonable, coherent, undisturbed, and balanced.
Usage for Sane:
‘There is increasing evidence that many current world leaders are far from sane; their actions, statements and opinions lead astute observers to believe them to be unbalanced and irrational.’
In this sentence, we could replace ‘sane’ with ‘rational’, ‘reasonable’, ‘coherent’ and ‘balanced’ without altering the sense.
Adverbs: words used to strengthen a weak verb, added to a verb in order to give it more power. Often, the best way to avoid their use is to employ a strong verb instead.
‘Every time Brian took his dog for a walk, he would shout at it, uselessly calling it names as he attempted to stop it disturbing other dog walkers and their pets.’
This could be written without the adverb; ‘Every time Brian walked his dog, he shouted abuse at it in a vain attempt to prevent it disturbing other dog walkers and their pets.’
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.
Until such time as: oh, how some people love to pretend to be superior and educated, only to demonstrate they’re neither. This expression is a redundancy; ‘until’ expresses the meaning on its own and needs no further words.
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.
Uniform: a form of clothing that permits certain wearers to believe they have power over others not similarly attired; an outfit demonstrating the wearer is bereft of imagination; a choice of attire designed to remove the difference from those individuals who wish to be seen only as members of a group.
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