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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Words, Words, Words by Bea Tifton

Confession: I am a grammar nerd. I have a large vocabulary and have been teased by bullies and friends alike. I read voraciously and I still look up unfamiliar words. I edit for a side living, and I actually like perusing grammar manuals.  Nerdy, see? 
I read many articles online. Yesterday I read a news article that had numerous grammatical and mechanical errors in it. They distracted me from the content. But, the word choices were also unoriginal and poor. All in all, it was just a dreadful article. I longed to contact the editor. I wanted to leave a tactful comment. But, I knew that I would just be trolled as a “Grammar Nazi.” 
I love language. I love imagery that draws me into a writer’s fictional world. I love large words, when used for a purpose. The well placed description. The perfectly chosen word.  
When I was a child, my parents gave me a dictionary that I was expected to use. Didn’t know what a word meant? They would say, “Look it up.” Not sure how to spell something? “Here are the first three letters, now look it up.” Didn’t know what an idiom meant? They were happy to explain. I was surrounded by books from birth, and trips to the library were like stepping into heaven.
In our Twitter based world, it makes me sad to see the demise of creative descriptions. The careless use and abuse of grammar makes it difficult to read many sources, and don’t even get me started on social media comments and memes.  I’ve heard the younger generations don’t use imagery. I know some great books are still
being written, so I hope this device doesn’t die completely. And those interesting, ten dollar vocabulary words! How I love them. I’m not talking about the pompous use of the largest words one knows. The malapropisms as people try to cram as many syllables in their mouths as they can just to appear important. No, the actual, earnest use of interesting phrases and words.
Here are just a few of my favorite words.
Convoluted-adjective. Extremely complex and difficult to follow, especially an argument, story, or sentence. (Boy is that one relevant today!) 
Synchronicity- noun. The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. (You know that wonderful phenomenon where it all comes together, with no apparent explanation? You want to find something and suddenly you see it everywhere? Several seemingly random events happen and they all lead you where you need to be? Bliss.)
Serendipity-noun. The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. (It’s similar, I know. But one can never know too many optimistic words. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you for days now, and here you are. It’s serendipity!”)

Idiosyncrasy- noun. A mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual. Distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing. (What a lovely way to say we are all different and interesting.)
Anachronism-noun. A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially on a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned. (Okay, it’s probably no great mystery why I love this word!) 
Kindness- noun. The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. (Two syllables, but one of the biggest, most important words in existence.)

What about you? Are there any words you love to use? Leave them in the comments below. And have a splendiferous month, dear Reader. 

Picture Attributions: 
Action Vance photo Dictionary


  1. I always look forward to reading your posts. Not only are they interesting, they are funny as well. I have always used the proper word too, and got teased for using ten dollar words by the other kids and some adults.

  2. I love reading a book in which the author uses perfect descriptions. One of my favorite for this is Loretta Chase's LORD PERFECT. Her description of the hero and heroine seeing one another for the first time is... well, perfect.

    1. I'm so glad we share that passion for descriptions. I happen to know yours are particularly good in the books you write as well, Caroline Clemmons. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I love reading your post, I may not always leave a comment but that's because I don't have anything to add. I too was given a dictionary as a gift. I can't remember if it was a birthday or Christmas... but it was one of the things on my wishlist.
    What kid asks for a dictionary?

    1. Grammar nerds like us, Hurricane Reads. Lol. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Hurray for words, Bea! I've always thought an author should have an affinity for language. I have a dictionary stand in the corner of my office. On top of it rests a huge red bound Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. Both items were among my first purchases when I began to get paid to write. Yes, I could look up words online, but I still use my big dictionary even though it's not up to date with words added during the last 30 years. I love browsing through the dictionary and a thesaurus.


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