The Writing Corner: The Write Words



The Write Words

By Stuart Aken

These posts look at language use for writers. It’s easy to fall into bad habits; using redundancies, applying tautology, and employing clichés. Adverbs come easily, but is the verb you’re using the best for the piece? Suggestions here are the opinion of one writer: writing rules are guidelines rather than absolutes, so use your experience and judgment to determine how best to enhance your prose.


Redundancies are words or phrases that serve no semantic purpose. In speech, they act as spacers, giving the speaker time to think. But in writing, except when representing natural conversation, they hamper the reader’s progress.

Particular:

This word can be used legitimately to distinguish the specific from the random. ‘There was no particular reason why George decided to end the affair, nothing he could isolate as the crucial factor.’

However, when used as a ‘filler’ it has no purpose and slows down the read. ‘In this particular case.’ Unnecessary; duplication of meaning. ‘In this case.’ says it all.


Cliché: a stereotyped or hackneyed expression; a phrase, opinion or other element of language that’s so overused it no longer holds power. However, clichés come into being because of their original and effective ability to describe a situation or quality in apposite terms. Their use should be sparing: in dialogue, they’re fine, providing the speaker would use them. They’re words or expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…Here, I might use a cliché to illustrate a cliché.

Pay through the nose:

We all know what this phrase means; that we’re being charged more for a product or service than it’s worth. But there are other ways of expressing this, depending on the type of writing you’re doing.

‘Pauline was so determined to have that picture, she was prepared to pay through the nose to get it.’ We could say, ‘Pauline was so set on buying the picture, she was prepared to pay more than it was worth.’ Or, ‘Pauline was so determined to own the picture, she would pay whatever the vendor demanded.’


Adverbs, as the word describes, are an addition to a verb. A strong verb always wins over an adverb propping up a weak one. Alternatively, a change in sentence structure can help to express the same idea in a better way.

Physically:

‘Climbing the hill on his old bike was physically challenging for George, with his gammy leg and bad back.’

We could try, instead, ‘George had a gammy leg, a bad back, and an ancient bike, all of which made climbing the hill hard work.’

About the Author


Stuart Aken, born to a homeless, widowed artist, in a neighbour’s bed, describes himself as a romantic, open-minded, radical liberal. Raised by a creative, loving mother and a step-father who educated him in things natural and worldly, he had what he describes as an idyllic childhood. An author who refuses to be shackled by genre, he’s written romance, thrillers, sci-fi, humour, fantasy and an autobiographical, self-help memoir, aimed at sufferers from ME/CFS. His fiction is the only place he bends the truth and, after love, remains his raison d’être.

You can find his work on his website. He is happy to connect with readers and writers via Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

You can read Stuart’s “The Write Words” column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.


#StuartAken #TheWriteWords #WritingTips #WritingCorner

Young Living Banner.Lavender.jpg
Gillette on Demand.jpg
Boxed Wholesale Delivered
Ambit Energy
Finally Family Homes.LOGO.jpg
Rakuten Ebates.jpg

© Joanne Troppello and Mustard Seed Sentinel, 2019. Unauthorized usage or duplication of any content published on this website without specific written permission from the site owner is strictly prohibited. With appropriate and specific guidance, excerpts and links may be used provided full definitive credit is given to Joanne Troppello, the contributor, and Mustard Seed Sentinel. Publication start date March 2016. MSS is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

DISCLAIMER: MSS reserves the right to remove comments on articles and in the forum that are not in line with our family-friendly brand and faith-based Christian magazine theme. Please make every effort to comment on articles and participate in the chat rooms in a friendly way that is devoid of profanity and hateful speech. MSS reserves the right to decline site membership (both the free membership and paid subscription membership) to any members who are violating our requests to keep this online community family-friendly. No spam links or comments will be allowed. Spam, profanity, and hateful speech will be deleted.

Freelance content submissions are always welcome and can be submitted through the submit button on the top of the Home Page underneath the header. All submissions are subject to review and possible rejection if the content does not meet quality standards. Edits may be suggested or required for some submissions. At this time, compensation is not given for submissions. However, as the Mustard Seed Sentinel readership grows, financial compensation will be provided for freelancers who submit appropriate and acceptable content for publication, such as the following: author interviews they've completed, guest blogs, or news articles. All freelancers will have their byline listed. NOTE: Mustard Seed Sentinel is a family-friendly publication and only appropriate faith-based content will be accepted.

This magazine is available for free online.

If you like our content and want to support

this publication, feel free to donate below.

Our paid subscription page is for paying members only. Engaging content, educational information, and interactive activities like webinars, as well as podcasts, are available for these paying members.

Publication of Mustard Seed Marketing Group, LLC