Looking at Onomatopoeia and Metaphor, Simile, Collective Nouns, and my Delusional Dictionary. For definitions of those, click here to read the introductory post to the series.
This week’s words:Rip, Red, Rope, Ramble.
Whether it’s ‘He ripped off her dress…’, ‘She ripped his shorts…’, or ‘The quake ripped the land…’, this is a word with emotional punch. I included those two most obvious and clichéd examples simply to illustrate how that one word can conjure provocative images depending on the views of the reader. The word, as innocent as every other word in itself, has the power to convey ideas of destruction, exposure, violation, eroticism, vulgarity, passion, and simple pragmatism. But it’s the suggestion of the sound made by ripping that is most prevalent in usage, so use it carefully. It can evoke the wrong emotion if used carelessly.
Simile: Red as the print of a kiss
Whilst it’s the case that most kisses planted by a woman wearing lipstick will produce a red print, the variety of colours now available, couple with the fact that a kiss may be made by natural lips, means this simile is less than reliable. Is there something we can find that’s more consistently ‘red’? There’s the cliché that is the rose, of course, but any gardener will quickly inform you that roses come in many different hues. Blood, of course, is red (unless it stems from either an alien with green fluids, or a member of the privileged and undeserving elite who consider themselves ‘royal’ and the bearers of impractical ‘blue blood’). Red as strawberries, raw beef, a stop light, a ruby, a brothel lamp, Santa’s nose (or Rudolf’s), ketchup, tomato puree? Take your pick. But make sure the chosen simile makes the point you’re trying to convey and doesn’t infect the reader’s mind with an inappropriate image.
Collective Nouns: Rope of onions
Onions come in ropes? I can see the mythic French seller that drives that image. Anything else that might collectively be associated with a rope? Perhaps we could have a rope of hangmen, a rope of lynchers, a rope of lassoists? Any others come to mind?
Delusional Dictionary: Ramble: the habit of many clerics and politicians when evading an answer to a difficult question; to meander mentally when faced with a conundrum; to avoid facing an uncomfortable truth by dissimulation.
For those learning English as a language, there’s a useful guide to pronunciation here, and Facebook hosts a great group you can join here.
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