Do you ever pause in your writing as I often do, to ponder and question whether you are using the correct word usage? Well, I again, more often than I’d like, groan, sigh and then have to stop to check the words I’ve chosen. And that breaks my train of thought and royally ticks me off, let me tell you. I often (there’s that word again) wonder and hope and pray that my mind will simply copy and paste what I’ve looked up one hundred times plus and viola! It will finally be imprinted in my brain for future use. Don’t I wish. If there is a way, someone let me know.
If you have some words that continue to fluster you too, you might want to join me for the following folly. Throughout the years of my word-usage struggle, I’ve read numerous helpful articles that I’ve kept handy to refer to. But if I were to include the many lists I have, I’d have 100 pages on this blog. Oops! Wrong. So I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, yet let you see some areas where you should step back and think through the many words that some writers tend to screw up–and oh, it’s so easy to do. If you’re a genius at word usage, then you’re a genius, but I hope you’ll join us for some laughs.
Use fewer for distinguishable units–Dirty Mort had fewer opportunities to rob Sarah Sosmart than Anna Dumbbunny, and less for everything else–Mort had less luck with Anna than he did with Sarah.
Although many a writer has used the imitation of already for alright–that’s not alright. It’s alwrong–All right is two words. No wonder the English language is so hard to master by many.
Mort’s stench nauseated (suffering from nausea) Sarah until she thought she might vomit. Just being in the same room with him was nauseous (causing nausea).
Sarah Sosmart abandoned her usual timidity and had the temerity (reckless boldness) to stall him from coming any closer.
Sara often luxuriated the sensuous decadence of a warm, scented bubble bath, but when Mort eyed her with hungry eyes and drool glistening on those smirking lips, she realized he had a night of raw sensuality on this mind. Oh yuck! And good for Sarah. Sensual refers to sex while sensuous refers to the senses.
Lay, laying, lie lying, laid, and lain. Oh good grief! Here we go. Anna Dumbbunny lay her purse on the table and eyed Dirty Mort, who laid on the couch. How long had he been laying there? I have shivers her. Listen up mates: Anna laid her purse down. Mort lay on the couch. And he’d been lying there for only who knows how long. Or he’d lain there for–who cares anyway. At least the lie/lay thing keeps us thinking. Right?
So now a bit of grammar. Taking her hand in his large, rough one, Mort’s eyes filled with shame as he voiced his his regret. Ah, here we can visualize his eyes caressing her hand. Oops!
Dirty Mort gave Anna Dumbunny a look which sent her heart to fluttering. A word geek will catch this error in a flash. Use that, not which, to begin a restrictive clause.
Farther is for physical distance and further for all else.
Prone=facedown; Supine=faceup. We’re all going to be lying prone if we don’t watch our word usage closely.
Anymore as an adverb; any more(two words) as an adjective. Under way is two words as an adverb. Now don’t shake your head, just lie down and follow a bit further. I’ll make these short:
I accept your word (not except): Take sufficient time vs. adequate:Adverse vs. averse: Affect vs. effect:
She kept alluding to–it should be –she kept referring to to the particulars….
I almost like cats as much as dogs. Nope. I like cats almost as much as dogs.
We need to collect a larger amount of sticks. It should be larger number of sticks.
Assure, ensure, insure: Assure means to make someone confident of something; to ensure is to make certain of something happening, and insure refers to insurance.
We have only touched the surface here. Maybe next time we’ll cover more.
And now for a special treat–because it is Halloween and if you’d like to read and see some interesting haunts in Galveston, TX please go to:
The Sweethearts of the West blog (below is the link, but I’m not sure it will work as it didn’t turn blue, so just go to the site and scroll down through the fascinating pumpkins to Oct. 18 by Sarah McNeal’s Galveston blog. It’s terrifically haunting. So join in all you Spooks. And thanks for joining me today. And Happy Halloween.