Hello and welcome to this section of our blog.
I am a great lover of the English language and, especially, the lexical and figurative usages of words and phrases. Every Wednesday, therefore, I’ll be taking us through a short list of words, idioms and phrases I come across in people’s writings to help us enrich our vocabulary. Besides that, we’ll be learning some of the most common mistakes made by writers in their works and how to avoid them.
If you have any writing, either poetry or short story, that you feel has some amazing words and phrases to share with the world, then kindly drop links to those works here every week. Be sure I’ll go through them and, if I find such vocabulary, discuss them here in my Wednesday posts.
Here is my recent selection.
Outstanding word usage
Brackish /ˈbrakɪʃ/ (adjective)
Repulsive; tending to rouse aversion or disgust.
of the black brackish hearts of fathersOdysseus: stanza 2, line 26-28
who show their children love by means of the belt…
The word “brackish” instantly triggers the reader’s imagination of the nature of the fathers’ “black” (evil) hearts that have the ability to cause repulsion instead of attraction.
Outstanding phrasal verb usage
Wash over (verb)
To affect the emotions (of a persons) suddenly and overwhelmingly.
Janis uses this phrase in the second paragraph of her short story dubbed A freshly baked short story to describe how memories overwhelmed Lettie’s emotions at the sight of a cookbook she had been sent by her deceased friend, Violet, just before she (Violet) died.
Lettie carefully slipped her fingers under the tape and slowly unwrapped the package. When she saw what was inside, a flood of memories washed over her. The Christmas Cookbook had been an often-used and much-loved reference when Lettie and Violet were young mothers…Paragraph 2, lines 1, 2 and 3 of “A freshly baked short story”.
Using the word in that context might sound slightly hyperbolic to some, but it is a perfect usage because it provokes the reader’s mental perception of strong emotions.
Today’s idiomatic usage
Put lipstick on a pig
To superficially alter something in the hope of making it more appealing than it already is.
- Constantly changing your website’s theme in the hope of making it better may be an act of putting lipstick on a pig as it may crash down your uniqueness.
Using idioms abstemiously in your works can, no doubt, make them feel more lively and psychologically engaging to your audience. You should consider giving them a shot once awhile.
Common mistakes to avoid in writing
Using the words ‘reason‘, ‘why‘ and ‘because‘ in one sentence.
In formal writing and speech, avoid using all or two of these words in one sentence because they mean the same thing.
UNCONVENTIONAL: The reason why I came to your shop is because I wanted to talk to your son.
UNCONVENTIONAL: The reason I came to your shop is because I wanted to talk to your son.
UNCONVENTIONAL: I came came to your shop because I wanted to talk to your son. (Cut the verbiage)
CONVENTIONAL: I came to your shop to talk to your son.
Thanks for reading till the end. Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section below.