Friday, September 14, 2012

More Words (part 2)

     From the time I first learned to spell, I liked playing word games i.e. Hangman, Boggle, Scribbage, and of course, my very favorite, Scrabble.  I not only like word games, I like words in general - the sound of the word when I speak it out loud, spelling the word, and learning the meaning and origin of the word.

      Peter Ackroyd (Vision From An Addiction to Fiction, The Times [London]. March 30, 2002) explains, " There is a disease which consists in loving words too much. Logophilia first manifests itself in childhood and is alas, incurable. " You might say I have logophilia - an infliction that many of us suffer from - a love of words.

     Words are everything to a writer. Especially choosing the best descriptive word when describing person, place or thing. In Wednesday's post for WNI , I highlighted a book titled The Correct Word  by Josephine Turck Baker,  a complete alphabetic list of everyday errors in English,  in which Baker denotes misused words, then gives examples of the word used properly. In today's post, I have another interesting book about words  to tell you about, another out of print  book I discovered at a favorite used book store. This one is titled, The New York Times Everyday Reader's Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, Mispronounced Words , copyright 1972 and edited by Laurence Durang. 


     On back dust jacket the description reads, "Includes words we know until somebody asks us what they mean; words we understand when we read them but not when we hear them (or vice versa); words we are inexplicably unsure of using in conversation; words we can pronounce but not spell (or vice versa)."  And I would add, words for writers.

     While I know equinox n. the time when night and day are of equal length everywhere, occurring about March 21 and September 22, I did not know equipage n. 1. a horse drawn carriage. 2. all of the equipment or furnishings, as of a home or military unit, considered together.   Or rub-ri-cate v. to mark , color, or illuminate (a book, etc) with red.

      As writers we are always on the look out for the right word to use, the best words for the story we're telling. Learning new words and growing our vocabulary is something all writers should  continually   strive for. Reading , and  reference  books like the one I mentioned today are good tools to help us on that journey. And it's also helpful when playing Scrabble !



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