good tools and bad tools

Words are not my tools they are merely the flat pack.  We all, to a greater or lesser extent, have words.  What distinguishes one from another is how we assemble them.  But that does not stop me having some favourites, and equally some that will never in a month of Sundays with a blue moon in the offing, ever find themselves a home in a written work of mine.

First the nasties:

Triumphalism – I  lived in Umtata and Umzimkulu in South Africa in the eighties – no, nobody else has heard of them either and with good cause, google them.  I lived in Sheffield during the miners’ strike.  I lived in Notting Hill when taxi drivers threw me out of the cab and told me they would ******** go anywhere near there and made a 16 year old girl walk where they wouldn’t drive.  All have been proven wrong.  But at  what cost?  I will not be triumphant and find the concept and the word alien.

Hate – I can dislike, disagree and loathe, but hate takes it a stage further.  Hate to me implies the potential for action.  An action that is not designed to overcome confrontation but inflame it.

Most American spellings when used in a non-American context. Color, sulfur, antagonize are perfectly acceptable in an American text.  But not in mine please.

Emoticon – What is the origin?  Emotion and …. some arbitrary addition of the letter “c”?  Quite meaningless.

Everyday, thankyou, alright et al.  Every day, thank you, all right.  Two words please.

Ecstatic – ecstasy is a state rarely achieved but one to which too many of us allude.  If we were in this state as often as it is used as a descriptor then normal life would be hard to maintain;.

There are many more but those are enough to start with.  As for the goodies:

Discombobulate – totally unnecessary word for confusion but it sounds utterly delightful.  I doubt I will ever find an appropriate use for it but it rolls off the tongue with a bubble.

Occlude – does what it says on the box.

Outwith – as in “outwith my experience”

Excruciating – it hurts as much to type as it implies.

Haver – sounds so much less pointless than babble.

I could go on for pages and pages.  I will end with a phrase rather than a word.  My father, when asked the time, would always reply “five and twenty past” rather than “twenty five past”  I have tried to say the same but it sounds quite wrong coming from me. It is of my father’s era, not of mine,  but I so long for it not to die away.



8 responses to “good tools and bad tools

  1. I find too that “a quarter to” and “a quarter past” are used less and less with a lot of people using digital watches I suppose. I hadn’t thought about whether it sounds right for me to say “five and twenty past”, I don’t think I would, but like you it sounds perfectly understandable.

    I ldon’t mind though. I love that language moves and flows.

  2. pixiewillow46

    really interesting post loved it

  3. I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to language as well. One that is very common in Scandinavia, is to separate words that should be one word.

  4. Linda, my grandmother is from Finland. When I was learning Finnish (badly!) I won a competition for finding the longest word. It wasn’t difficutl!

  5. “emote” + “icon”…

    and “sulfur” is apparently now the standard International spelling. It’s a disgrace.

  6. I love hearing other people’s lust and loathe words. I’m afraid I’m guilty of alright…*hands head in shame*… Totally concur with hate…so much hate washing around lately and it does…what? Hurts the hater on the whole. But I feel …hmmm… sadness and shock maybe about that taxi driver.

    Now then…my favourite word ever is ‘mitten’… make of that what you will. 🙂

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