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As always on Wednesdays, we handpick some of the best words, phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions from blogsites and rectify mistakes made by writers and speakers.
If you have any poem or short story with outstanding vocabulary, kindly drop the link to it at the comments section. We will check through your work and showcase your knowledge and proficiency of the English language to the world.
Here we go with our recent selection.
Outstanding word usage
To slowly change (into something).
In the story, the main character Alex, whose family suffered from cancer and were later cremated, is pinned by disquietude over the fungus growing between his fingers and toes and thinks he might be slowly changing (morphing) into her family’s distorted physiques before their demise (which she likens to the cellar walls).
I’ve got some weird fungus growing between my fingers and toes now. Raw bits of flesh with something white sitting on them, like the crest of a wave. My skin stings and feels wet and damp like the cellar walls. Perhaps I’m morphing into them. …Paragraph 10, line 8 – 11 of “The Quiet”.
Aside from cutting the verbiage, this word incites the reader towards thinking of the scietific process involved (which is the case, as a result of cell division) rather than a mere physical process.
Outstanding phrasal verb usage
To prepare oneself for a possible occurence.
Britta Benson uses this phrase in the introductory paragraph of her aforementioned story to describe the action of first-time cancer survivors preparing for future battles against the ailment.
It can only stay quiet for a certain time. That first uncertain time, when the survivors hunker down, stay as low as they possibly can and live on scraps and dust mites. Some have planned for this and built a bunker. I guess, they’ll be slightly more comfortable. Mum and dad didn’t see the point. …The Quiet, paragraph 1.
Phrasal verbs add flavour to writing and ignite the readers perception of the reality in which the story has been knit.
Send to Coventry
To deliberately ignore someone (typically by not talking to them); to ostracise.
The first letter of the word Coventry is capitalised because the word is a proper noun referring to a city in England where this idiom originated, possibly during the 17th century English Civil War. Coventry was then a parliamentary stronghold and the king’s soldiers were so hated that royalist prisoners were punished by being sent to Coventry, where it was believed they would be ignored.
- Noah’s comminity sent him to Coventry for constantly warning them about an ominious flood.
- The coaches thought they would send Otieno to Coventry by failing to notify him when the team trainings were due.
Common mistakes to avoid in formal writing and speeches.
Using when and where to begin definitions.
It is generally considered nonstandard to use these two words to introduce the definitions of words or phrases.
UNCONVENTIONAL: Dilemma is when one finds it hard to choose.
CONVENTIONAL: Dilemma is finding it hard to choose.
UNCONVENTIONAL: A kraal is where livestock is enclosed for safety.
CONVENTIONAL: A kraal is a safe enclosure for livestock.
Many thanks to you for reading till the end. Kindly like and drop your thought in the comments section below. See you again with another chapter next week.
Readers’ airtime picking point.