I learned a new word this week: Cacology (kah-KOL-uh-jee), which means bad choice or use of words. Another definition I found was “poor choice of words or incorrect pronunciation; a failure to say something important.”
In my years of writing, I find myself consistently using “bad words” that my college comp professors would mark with their nasty red pens because they are so overused or unimportant to the point of the paper. One teacher in particular strongly encouraged us to never use the words “really” and “very.” In writing this blog the last month or so, I have really realized how very much I use those words. YIKES! Need to get myself some more creative word choices STAT!
One of the best ways to get your mind expanding to some better word choices is to make some lists. When you are reading a book, or an incredible blog like this one, if you see a particular word that causes you to pause and think, that’s really a very nice word (wink wink), pull out a notebook and write it down. If you hear a word said in a movie or song, write it down. If you hear someone say a word you have never heard of before, write it down then look it up. If you hear or see a word that you like, look it up on a thesaurus and see if a word that means the same thing is just as interesting.
If you buy or make yourself a notebook, you could make sections and categorize the words by how they end, like “-ing,” -ly,” “-ed,” etc. Or you could separate them by their parts of speech, like nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. like I did.
Then the next time you sit down to write a story, blog, or even facebook status/tweet, open up your notebook of interesting words and use one. If the most compelling word you can think of is “really” to describe something, PLEASE consult your notebook before pushing “enter.”
Now if you come across a “really” or a “very” in future posts, you will know that I too am human and struggle with using puny, weak words at times. You can call me out on it if you’d like (more motivation for me to NOT let them slip in).
A few more words I discovered this week for you to add to your notebook too if you want:
- Agrestik (ah-GRES-tik): rustic or rural, unpolished or awkward.
- Grandiloquent (gran-DIL-ah-kwent): Using high-flown, pompous, bombastic words and expressions.
- Jejune (Je-JOON): not interesting, dull, empty; childish; lacking nutrition
For the Children:
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What are some of your favorite words? Comment below.