Tag Archive | IELTS

Lost in Long Sentences?

Written by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Syntax Training

When reading essays, books, and novels, many people enjoy traveling through long, complex sentences with twists and turns that lead to a satisfying end. But in business writing, readers want a short, clear path to understanding. Follow the four tips below to edit long sentences.

1. Include just one idea per sentence. When sentences have several ideas, readers need to figure out the relationship between the ideas. They need to suspend their understanding until they get to the period (full stop). In contrast, readers can quickly grasp each one-idea sentence and move on to the next.

The sentence below packs in three ideas. The punctuation makes is easy to recognize them.

I hope you will be able to attend, and if you need more information, please call or email me, and I will be glad to help you.
This revision shows that each idea can be a crisp sentence: I hope you will be able to attend. If you need more information, please call or email me. I will be glad to help you.

Test Yourself Number 1: Revise this three-idea sentence, whose length makes readers move slowly:

Our credit department has requested that you provide a copy of your exempt sales tax document and that you fill out the top and signature portion of the credit application just for assurance that we have the pertinent contact information correct.
Revise the sentence to communicate just one idea per sentence. After you have tried, you can check my revision. It appears at the end of this article.
2. Begin with the subject, not the windup. 
In baseball, the windup is the pitcher’s actions before releasing the ball. Although important to the pitcher, the windup can distract the batter. The same is true of readers: If you begin a sentence with a fancy windup, you may lose your readers before releasing your main idea. Instead, start with your subject.This sentence has a dizzying windup, which makes it too long and complicated:

With over a decade of experience with programming, network security, reverse engineering, cryptography design and cryptanalysis, and attacking protocols, and significant expertise in information security, Lance James provides consultation to businesses ranging from small startups to governments, Fortune 500s, and top financial institutions.
If the sentence began with the subject, Lance James, rather than the long windup, it would be two clearer sentences:
Lance James has over a decade of experience with programming, network security, reverse engineering, cryptography design and cryptanalysis, and attacking protocols, and significant expertise in information security. He provides consultation to businesses ranging from small startups to governments, Fortune 500s, and top financial institutions.
Test Yourself Number 2: Start with the subject rather than the long windup in this sentence, so readers do not struggle to understand its meaning:
By keeping the three critical success factors in mind and talking with your unit manager or your peer coach whenever you find yourself struggling with an employee issue, you should have the greatest opportunity for success as a new supervisor.

My revision appears at the end of the article.

3. When a sentence is too long or has more than one idea, try inserting a period (full stop) in place of the word andSometimes your sentences will ramble on because you have forgotten to take a breath and give your reader one. Replacing and with a period may help, as it would in this sentence:
Thanks for your cooperation on this project and we look forward to meeting with you to discuss the items above.
This revision communicates in two powerful sentences: Thanks for your cooperation. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss the items above.Sometimes replacing and with a period requires the addition of a word. In the sentence below, which word would you use to replace and? 

The navigation panel on the left side of the screen is the same for all contractors and helps them navigate through the site to find what they need quickly.

Your revision might look like mine: The navigation panel on the left side of the screen is the same for all contractors. It helps them navigate through the site to find what they need quickly.

Test Yourself Number 3: Break up this long sentence by inserting a period and replacing and. Then compare your revision with mine, which appears at the end of the article.

Recently there have been several calls and emails from individuals who are using an MS Excel version dated earlier than 2007 and are not able to save their changes based on the instructions provided in the guidelines.

4. Do not let a long list transform your sentence into a solid wall of text. Often you need to include a list in your writing. But a sentence burdened with a long list can become a blur to your reader. If that happens, your reader will not see any of the important information in your list. The solution is to break up the long, heavy sentence into bullet points or short sentences that keep your reader’s attention.

How would you revise this list-heavy sentence?

Your daily work will include counseling managers on issues ranging from major incidents to employee communications and community relations, representing the company with various groups, supporting the needs of individual plants, managing strategic media opportunities and crisis communications, placing community advertising, and publicizing company efforts in environmental stewardship.
This revision helps each point stand out for the reader:
Your daily work will include:
  • Counseling managers on issues ranging from major incidents to employee communications and community relations.
  • Representing the company with various groups.
  • Supporting the needs of individual plants.
  • Managing strategic media opportunities and crisis communications.
  • Placing community advertising.
  • Publicizing company efforts in environmental stewardship.
Test Yourself Number 4: Restructure this long sentence so that each part stands out:
If new information concerning the case should come to your attention, if you should leave the area for more than a few days, or if you should change your address or telephone number, please advise Marie Smith or your insurance agent immediately.
How long is too long? Sometimes long sentences are not difficult to understand. But a document filled with long, complex sentences will slow down readers and could lose them. Strive for an average of no more than 20 words per sentence–15 is better. Also, do not allow yourself to include sentences of more than 35 words in your final draft. If a sentence gets that long, break it in two (or three) or cut words.
Solution to Number 1:
Our credit department has requested that you provide a copy of your exempt sales tax document. Also, please fill out the top and signature portion of the credit application. This step is just for assurance that we have the pertinent contact information correct.
Solution to Number 2:  
You should have the greatest opportunity for success as a new supervisor if you do these two things: Keep the three critical success factors in mind. Talk with your unit manager or your peer coach whenever you find yourself struggling with an employee issue.
Solution to Number 3:
Recently there have been several calls and emails from individuals who are using an MS Excel version dated earlier than 2007. They are not able to save their changes based on the instructions provided in the guidelines.
Solution to Number 4: 
Please immediately advise Marie Smith or your insurance agent if any of these occurs:
  • New information concerning the case comes to your attention.

  • You leave the area for more than a few days.

  • You change your address or telephone number.

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The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English

Ailurophile A cat-lover.
Assemblage A gathering.
Becoming Attractive.
Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
Brood To think alone.
Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.
Comely Attractive.
Conflate To blend together.
Cynosure A focal point of admiration.
Dalliance A brief love affair.
Demesne Dominion, territory.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Denouement The resolution of a mystery.
Desuetude Disuse.
Desultory Slow, sluggish.
Diaphanous Filmy.
Dissemble Deceive.
Dulcet Sweet, sugary.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Effervescent Bubbly.
Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.
Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
Elixir A good potion.
Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
Emollient A softener.
Ephemeral Short-lived.
Epiphany A sudden revelation.
Erstwhile At one time, for a time.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Evocative Suggestive.
Fetching Pretty.
Felicity Pleasantness.
Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
Fugacious Fleeting.
Furtive Shifty, sneaky.
Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.
Glamour Beauty.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.
Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.
Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Ingénue A naïve young woman.
Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.
Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.
Inure To become jaded.
Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.
Lagniappe A special kind of gift.
Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.
Languor Listlessness, inactivity.
Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.
Leisure Free time.
Lilt To move musically or lively.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Lithe Slender and flexible.
Love Deep affection.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Moiety One of two equal parts.
Mondegreen A slip of the ear.
Murmurous Murmuring.
Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.
Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.
Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.
Opulent Lush, luxuriant.
Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.
Panacea A solution for all problems
Panoply A complete set.
Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.
Penumbra A half-shadow.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Plethora A large quantity.
Propinquity An inclination.
Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.
Quintessential Most essential.
Ratatouille A spicy French stew.
Ravel To knit or unknit.
Redolent Fragrant.
Riparian By the bank of a stream.
Ripple A very small wave.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Sempiternal Eternal.
Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.
Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.
Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.
Susurrous Whispering, hissing.
Talisman A good luck charm.
Tintinnabulation Tinkling.
Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.
Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.
Vestigial In trace amounts.
Wafture Waving.
Wherewithal The means.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.

Source

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The 100 Funniest Words in English

Abibliophobia The fear of running out of reading material.
Absquatulate To leave or abscond with something.
Allegator Some who alleges.
Anencephalous Lacking a brain.
Argle-bargle A loud row or quarrel.
Batrachomyomachy Making a mountain out of a molehill.
Billingsgate Loud, raucous profanity.
Bloviate To speak pompously or brag.
Blunderbuss A gun with a flared muzzle or disorganized activity.
Borborygm A rumbling of the stomach.
Boustrophedon A back and forth pattern.
Bowyang A strap that holds the pants legs in place.
Brouhaha An uproar.
Bumbershoot An umbrella.
Callipygian Having an attractive rear end or nice buns.
Canoodle To hug and kiss.
Cantankerous Testy, grumpy.
Catercornered Diagonal(ly).
Cockalorum A small, haughty man.
Cockamamie Absurd, outlandish.
Codswallop Nonsense, balderdash.
Collop A slice of meat or fold of flab.
Collywobbles Butterflies in the stomach.
Comeuppance Just reward, just deserts.
Crapulence Discomfort from eating or drinking too much.
Crudivore An eater of raw food.
Discombobulate To confuse.
Donnybrook An melee, a riot.
Doozy Something really great.
Dudgeon A bad mood, a huff.
Ecdysiast An exotic dancer, a stripper.
Eructation A burp, belch.
Fard Face-paint, makeup.
Fartlek An athletic training regime.
Fatuous Unconsciously foolish.
Filibuster Refusal to give up the floor in a debate to prevent a vote.
Firkin A quarter barrel or small cask.
Flibbertigibbet Nonsense, balderdash.
Flummox To exasperate.
Folderol Nonsense.
Formication The sense of ants crawling on your skin.
Fuddy-duddy An old-fashioned, mild-mannered person.
Furbelow A fringe or ruffle.
Furphy A portable water-container.
Gaberlunzie A wandering beggar.
Gardyloo! A warning shouted before throwing water from above.
Gastromancy Telling fortune from the rumblings of the stomach.
Gazump To buy something already promised to someone else.
Gobbledygook Nonsense, balderdash.
Gobemouche A highly gullible person.
Godwottery Nonsense, balderdash.
Gongoozle To stare at, kibitz.
Gonzo Far-out journalism.
Goombah An older friend who protects you.
Hemidemisemiquaver A musical timing of 1/64.
Hobbledehoy An awkward or ill-mannered young boy.
Hocus-pocus Deceitful sleight of hand.
Hoosegow A jail or prison.
Hootenanny A country or folk music get-together.
Jackanapes A rapscallion, hooligan.
Kerfuffle Nonsense, balderdash.
Klutz An awkward, stupid person.
La-di-da An interjection indicating that something is pretentious.
Lagopodous Like a rabbit’s foot.
Lickety-split As fast as possible.
Lickspittle A servile person, a toady.
Logorrhea Loquaciousness, talkativeness.
Lollygag To move slowly, fall behind.
Malarkey Nonsense, balderdash.
Maverick A loner, someone outside the box.
Mollycoddle To treat too leniently.
Mugwump An independent politician who does not follow any party.
Mumpsimus An outdated and unreasonable position on an issue.
Namby-pamby Weak, with no backbone.
Nincompoop A foolish person.
Oocephalus An egghead.
Ornery Mean, nasty, grumpy.
Pandiculation A full body stretch.
Panjandrum Someone who thinks himself high and mighty.
Pettifogger A person who tries to befuddle others with his speech.
Pratfall A fall on one’s rear.
Quean A disreputable woman.
Rambunctious Aggressive, hard to control.
Ranivorous Frog-eating
Rigmarole Nonsense, unnecessary complexity.
Shenanigan A prank, mischief.
Sialoquent Spitting while speaking.
Skedaddle To hurry somewhere.
Skullduggery No good, underhanded dealing.
Slangwhanger A loud abusive speaker or obnoxious writer.
Smellfungus A perpetual pessimist.
Snickersnee A long knife.
Snollygoster A person who can’t be trusted.
Snool A servile person.
Tatterdemalion A child in rags.
Troglodyte Someone or something that lives in a cave.
Turdiform Having the form of a lark.
Unremacadamized Having not been repaved with macadam.
Vomitory An exit or outlet.
Wabbit Exhausted, tired, worn out.
Widdershins In a contrary or counterclockwise direction.
Yahoo A rube, a country bumpkin.
@ The “at” sign.

Source

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Seven Tips for Communicating Data

Written by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Syntax Training

After you have worked hard to collect meaningful data, the big challenges are how and how much to communicate. Consider these tips when you work on your next report or presentation that includes data. 

  1. Focus first on your message, not on the numbers.
    When planning your communication, focus first on the big idea or points you want to make. Then incorporate the data that will help your audience understand and appreciate your points. Be sure your big idea gets center stage, not the numbers.
  2. Explain the data.
    Numbers mean nothing on their own. They need interpretation. Avoid asking readers or your audience to “review the attached spreadsheets.” Why should they review them? Which numbers should they pay attention to and why? What do the numbers indicate?
  3. Put data in context.
    Make it clear whether numbers are positive, negative, or neutral. If you tell a sales rep that she visited an average of six prospects per day, compare that number to the goal number of prospects. If a client walks 5500 steps in a day, state whether 5500 is the magic healthy number or only halfway there. If expenses are 18 percent over income, say why the reader should care. Explain that the account balance will be €0 by 2018 if nothing changes.
  4. Paint a picture with your numbers so people can see them.
    Even simple expressions like “a tenfold increase” or “a 30 percent drop” can seem vague unless your audience can see them. If numbers have decreased dramatically over a decade, do not use words and numbers alone. In a bold-colored graph, show the deep drop year by year, month by month over 10 years.

hand-577355_1280

If your numbers are so large as to be abstract, paint them in recognizable mental pictures such as an area as large as Italy or a distance of 100 Greyhound buses. (Think of your audience when you choose the image.) How hot is 158 degrees Fahrenheit? Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

Or show the numbers reduced to their essence. Jack Hagley’s graphic “The World as 100 People” (www.jackhagley.com/The-World-as-100-People) presents the world as though it were only 100 people. For instance, 83 of the world’s 100 people are able to read and write; 17 are not.

World-as-100-People_3

  1. Highlight important numbers.
    A wall of numbers is as intimidating as a wall of text. Pull out essential numbers and focus on them. If you are presenting financial data, show just a small portion of it at a time on a slide or a page–just the portion you are discussing now. If you refer to and show just a small part, your audience will not say, “Where are you?” and “What are you talking about?” And always render numbers in a large enough font that you do not have to apologize for it.

Make it easy for your readers to find important numbers. If a client has asked for your fee, for example, don’t bury the number in a paragraph. Instead, render the number alone on a line or as part of a short heading, like this:

Your investment: US$19,000

 

  1. Prominently display the legends for tables and charts of numbers.
    Ensure that your audience will know instantly that 3000 indicates 3,000,000 and that your balance is positive rather than negative. Use abbreviations such as K and M only if you are certain your readers understand them. (To some people, M means thousand; to others, it means million.)
  2. Use only the essential, compelling numbers in the body of your document.
    If numbers weigh down your document, your readers may forget your main point. So move most of the supporting tables, lists, charts, and graphs to the appendices. In a presentation, hold back some slides of data, and show them only upon request. Remember: The numbers are not the message; they serve the message.

If you think of your communication as music, your most important message comes through the soloist. The numbers are the accompanists. They play an essential role, but they should never drown out the soloist. If they do, your communication will not reach and change your audience.

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Talk English by colors

 

WHITE

 

 White_Flag
a white lie a harmless lie/ a lie to spare someone’s feelings
white noise static noise
white as a sheet scared, sick, surprised
white as a ghost scared
white-collar related to “desk jobs”
a white flag surrender
to whitewash something to mask the negative parts
white wine wine from green or yellow grapes
a white Christmas snow on Christmas day
a white wedding a traditional western-style wedding where the bride wears a white gown
a white person a person of Caucasian race
white-hot extremely hot OR popular
a white paper an authoritative report on a issue
a white elephant a useless knick-knack OR an expensive, useless thing
white as the driven snow innocent (often used sarcastically about corruption)
white with rage extremely enraged
to bleed someone white to take everything someone has, esp. money
showing the white feather acting cowardly
a white-knuckle ride a dangerous, nerve-wracking, scary ride
that’s mighty white of you (old-fashioned) that’s good of you
lily-white unmistakably Caucasian OR blameless, goodly
white horses (surfing) patches of white foam made by breaking waves
white trash (American) (offensive) uneducated, socio-economically disadvantaged Caucasian people
whiter than white (British) righteous, innocent

BLACK

a white pointer (Australian)

080766-glossy-black-icon-business-envelope1a topless female sunbather
to blackmail someone to threaten to reveal secrets unless payment is made
to black out to lose consciousness
a blackout a loss of electricity in an area
the blackout during wartime, extinguishing or covering lights
black magic / the black arts magic used for malevolent purposes
the pot calling the kettle black someone criticizing someone else for a quality they themselves possess
the black market illegal/underground sales and purchases
little black book book of contacts, esp. past or potential dates
a black sheep the outcast or disgrace in a group
black gold oil / petrolium
  black tie formal clothing e.g. a tuxedo
black humor jokes about death or illness
a black day a day when something bad happens
to be in black and white to be written down officially
to be black and white (a situation) to be clear
in the black profitable
a black mood a bad, grumpy mood
a black eye a bruised eye
to blacklist someone to prevent someone from being hired
to blackball someone to shut someone out from group participation
black and blue bruised
a black look an angry/disapproving facial expression
as black as night very dark black
pitch black very dark black
a black person a person of African heritage
black ops extralegal covert activity, done in the dark (military/politics)
black-hearted cruel, evil, mean
a black mark an indication of wrongdoing
to blacken someone’s name to suggest/indicate a person’s wrongdoing
the Black Death The Bubonic Plague
  a black rat (British) a traffic police officer
Black Friday (U.S.) The day after American Thanksgiving when many stores have sales
the black dog (Irish) a bad mood
beyond the black stump (Australian) the back of nowhere, far from anything

RED

 

 

 

 

 

in the red

arrow-pointing-downunprofitable OR negative financial balance, owing money
a redhead a person with orange-colored hair
red light district area with prostitutes
to see red to be furious
red with rage furious
to turn/go red become embarrassed
a red herring a false clue
to paint the town red to dine, dance, experience fun in a town or city
a red flag a signal that something is wrong
roll out the red carpet give a big welcome
red tape unnecessary/excessive bureaucracy
not one red cent no money at all
a red letter day a special day
a scarlet woman a sinful woman
scarlet fever an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria.
red-hot very hot OR very popular
red card a sanction for a soccer player
red alert a serious warning of danger
a red-blooded male a virile, manly male person
like a red rag/flag to a bull provoking/aggravating anger
red (adjective) communist
bleed red ink (British) debt
red in tooth and claw (British) the wild, violent aspect of the natural world
redshirting (U.S.) delaying an athlete’s participation in sports order to lengthen his/her period of eligibility
  a red state (U.S.) a state whose residents are politically more Republican
a redneck (U.S.) an uneducated, rural white American
a red-bone (U.S.) a light-skinned black woman
the red scare (U.S.) (historical) the worry that society would be infiltrated by communists and communism
the red eye (U.S.) the overnight flight between west and east coast

GREEN

green with envy

green-parrot-wide-300x187very envious
the green-eyed monster jealousy
to give the green light to give approval to proceed
to be green (in a position) to be inexperienced, a rookie
to be green (policy) to be environmentally aware
the green room room in a theater or studio where guests/performers wait to go on
to turn green to be nauseous
green around the gills sick-looking
a greenbelt an area of nature around a city
greens vegetables
a green a golf course
a greengrocer a person/store that sells vegetables & fruit
  the grass is always greener on the other side other people’s possessions/situations always seem better than your own
greener pastures a better situation
to greenwash something to deceptively make practices/policies seem more environmentally friendly
little green men stereotypical/humorous description of space aliens
as sure as God made little green apples very certain
colorless green ideas sleep furiously (Linguistics) Noam Chomsky’s oft-quoted example of a sentence with good grammar but no meaning
to have green fingers (British) to be good with plants/gardens
to have a green thumb (U.S.) to be good with plants/gardens
a greenie (Australian) an environmentally aware person
a green card (U.S.) legal residency status
a greenhorn (U.S.) an inexperienced or young person
greenbacks (U.S.) dollars

YELLOW

yellow

fashion_recap__yellowcowardly
a yellow streak cowardice
yellow-bellied cowardly
yellow journalism disreputable, sensationalistic journalism
a yellow card (soccer) to give someone a first warning
the yellow peril (offensive, archaic) the fear that Asian people will outnumber/displace Caucasian people
yellow fever  an acute viral haemorrhagic disease
yellow fever (Nigerian slang) traffic police
a yellow dog Democrat (U.S.) a voter who always votes Democrat in every election

BLUE

out of the blue

blue-sky-14366suddenly, unexpectedly
a bolt from the blue a sudden/unexpected thing
to be blue to be sad
a blue funk a feeling of melancholy
the blues sadness OR a 3 chord style of music
once in a blue moon infrequently
blue-collar related to manual labor or the working class
a blue blood an aristocratic person
to talk a blue streak to talk a lot
to turn blue to have difficulty breathing
blue with cold feeling very cold
until you’re blue in the face having lost your patience
blue chip stock stock of an established/financially sound company
working blue performing using foul language
a blue movie a pornographic film
a blueprint (for something) a design, a guide
true blue faithful
blue on blue in military: friendly fire
into the wide/wild blue yonder to an unknown/faraway place
blue balls (lewd) male sexual frustration due to unfulfilled sexual urges
to turn the air blue to swear a lot
between the devil and the deep blue sea a dilemma
the boys in blue the police
the thin blue line the police
a blue state (U.S.) a state whose residents are politically more Democrat
a blue (British) a Tory
to scream blue murder (British) to express yourself angrily
a blue-eyed boy (British) a male who can do no wrong, who is favored by authority
having a blue (Australian) having a fight
make a blue (Australian) make a mistake

BROWN

a brown-noser

51FWx8gxbOL._SY300_a sycophant
in a brown study being contemplative; daydreaming
  browned off (British) annoyed

PURPLE

purple prose

purpleflowery, romantic writing
born in the purple born into a high ranking/aristocratic family
the Purple Heart (U.S.) a U.S. military honor badge
a purple patch (British) a period of exceptionally high achievement

ORANGE

agent orange

Orange_and_cross_sectiona defoliant used in herbicidal warfare
Orangemen (Irish) Protestant fraternal organization

PINK

in the pink of health

big_a149_pinko_rozovata_panteravery healthy
tickled pink very pleased
a pinko a communist
to see the world through rose-colored glasses to see the world through an optimistic filter
rosy positive, optimistic,
to get a pink slip to be fired
the pink pound (British) consumer spending by gay people

GREY

grey area

seagull_greyunclear
grey matter the brain
to give someone grey hairs to try someone’s patience
gray market sale of products via nonstandard distribution channels or at an unofficial price
grey nomads (Australian) retirees who travel around the country
the silver screen the movies

GOLDEN

a golden boy

Gold bar isolated with clipping patha well-regarded, successful man
a golden handshake monetary incentive to join a company
a golden parachute money given to an executive leaving a company
golden ears great listening ability to discern quality or commerciality
a golden shower (lewd) urinating on a sexual partner
a golden mean the desirable middle (between extremes of excess and deficiency)

COLOR

off-color

rainbow_fridge_magnetinappropriate, crude
to show your true colors to reveal your true self or feelings
a colorless person a boring person
colorful (e.g. tale, history, life) event-filled and interesting
colorful language vivid or expletive-filled language
to pass with flying colors to do very well
local color having typical characteristics of the local area
color commentary facts & comments about athletes during a broadcast
a horse of a different color a completely different thing/idea
a country’s colors the colors of a national flag
 SOURCE

Contronyms: What did you mean by deceptively smart?

A synonym is a word that means the same as another.

Necessary and required are synonyms.

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An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another.

Wet and dry are antonyms.

While synonyms and antonyms are not in themselves interesting, the complexities and irregularities of the English language sometimes make synonyms and antonyms interesting to explore. Many complexities result from words having multiple definitions.

A trivial example is a word with synonyms that aren’t synonyms of each other, the word beam, for example, having the synonyms bar and shine.

Similarly, some words have antonyms that are neither synonyms nor antonyms of each other but completely unrelated: the word right, for example, having the antonyms wrong and left.

A more interesting paradox occurs with the word groom, which does not really have an antonym in the strictest sense but has an opposite of sorts in the word bride, which can be used as a prefix to create a synonym, bridegroom.

https://i0.wp.com/www.bohobride.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/groom01.jpg

The word contronym (also antagonym) is used to refer to words that, by some freak of language evolution, are their own antonyms. Read More…

168 Color terms in English

Compiled by Stephen Chrisomalis

This list contains 168 definitions of obscure colour terms using combinations of ‘normal‘ colours of the rainbow and descriptive adjectives; e.g. cardinal = deep scarlet red; russet = reddish brown. Note that most English speakers outside the U.S. spell colour with the added British ‘u’ rather than the American version color. Don’t worry if the colours (or colors) in your universe don’t match up with the definitions I’ve given for these words, though – I’ve been known to have skewed perceptions of reality … Read More…

50 Sophisticated Words You Should Start Using


It might be time for phasing out some of the played-out words in your vocabulary and replacing them with creative alternatives? Don’t feel bad; everyone you know has been guilty of letting a “fail” or an “LOL” slip at least once in a while. But those words are tired. They need a long rest. Here are 50 sophisticated utterances to deploy instead.

Cyber Substitutes

 

  1. Supreme: Epic doesn’t mean what you think it means. Use this instead, meaning classic or perfect.
  2. Blunder: For the love of grammar, “fail” is not a noun. On the other hand, “blunder” works as both a noun and a verb. How supreme.
  3. Triumph: Instead of “FTW,” you can say, “For The Triumph!” We bet you money you can’t say it without feeling like Maximus.
  4. Fidus Achates: More than some internet acquaintance, a fidus Achates (“FEED-us uh-KAH-tays“) is a true friend. It’s like “BFF” in Latin.
  5. Fancy: It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to “fancy” a link or status update for which you wish to show appreciation.
  6. Cachinnate: Forget about laughing your a** off. Tell them you’re cachinnating (CACK-in-ate-ing) heartily.
  7. Woe is me: It sounds a bit like Yoda-ese, but instead of saying FML, go biblical with “woe is me.”
  8. Piquant: If you simply must inform the world how scrumptious the food you are currently eating is, please refrain from saying “nom nom nom.” Use this descriptor instead to convey appetizing flavor.
  9. Baffling: It’s too easy to just drop a “WTH” (or some variation) on some activity or news that perplexes you. Why not be baffled?
  10. Indubitably: The “Really?” ship has sailed. To express ironic dismay, go with, “Indubitably?” Trust us, it’s a can’t-miss.
  11. Desultory: Don’t be a serial “random“-dropper. If something is unexpected, call it “desultory.”
  12. Ergo: Starting a status update with “so” is nonsensical because “so” means “therefore.” But if you’re going to use “so” correctly, “ergo” works just as well and makes you sound twice as classy.

 

 

Better Buzzwords

 

  1. Donjon: Men, have you been relegated to a small segment of the house referred to as your “man cave?” You don’t have to take that. Call it your donjon, like the stronghold of a castle.
  2. Garrison: “Occupy” has been done to death. Use this if you’re moving in and taking over.
  3. Aspiration: Something that goes on your Bucket List (which hopefully you’re not still saying) is an aspiration.
  4. Pater familias: Bad: “baby daddy.” Better: “father.” Best: “pater familias.”
  5. Minutiae-peddling: This phrase is our own creation. Since 40% of all tweets are pointless babble, instead of saying “I’m tweeting” you could say, “I’m peddling minutiae.

 

Underage Upgrades

 

  1. Alas: “Oh, snap” is so out. All the cool kids are saying “alas!” after their putdowns.
  2. Forsooth: All the kids (and some adults) simply adore saying, “I know, right?” Kick it old school Archaic with “forsooth,” meaning “indeed.”
  3. Jocular: People’s eyes glaze over when they read “LOL.” Send them scrambling for a dictionary when you reply, “How jocular!
  4. Gamin: It means “street urchin,” but we can change the meaning to be more neutral if we put our minds to it. After all, we did the same thing with “dude.”
  5. Paraphernalia: Remember the nice officer who referred to your “drug paraphernalia?” That was a fancier way of saying drug stuff.
  6. Incogitable: To the kids, everything’s “wack” or “crazy.” But the silver-tongued teenager of 2012 will be sharing his or her disbelief with this mouthful.

 

Professional Pick-me-ups

 

  1. Demiurgic: “Innovative” is the second-most overused resume filler word. Since you’re already tooting your own horn, compare yourself to a Gnostic creative deity with this word.
  2. Ambitious: “Motivated” is another résumé snooze-inducer. Go ahead and say you’re ambitious; it’ll add a little edge to it that will help you stand out from the pack.
  3. Assiduous: Don’t bother telling employers you are “dynamic;” everyone they’ve interviewed has been dynamic. But if you want an original way to tell them you are hardworking, use this.
  4. Henceforth: For some reason, “going forward” has caught on as a tack-on to the end of serious statements to make them sound more complete. We’re not sure how you can go any way but forward, but at least use “henceforth” instead.
  5. “_________”: That’s a blank to represent an alternative to saying, It is what it is.” “It is what it is” is the equivalent of saying nothing, thus it has no alternative. Just keep quiet for once instead.
  6. Pandemic: Sure, a video can go viral by getting a few million clicks. But aim higher for your company; shoot for a billion clicks. People will be forced to admit your work has gone pandemic.
  7. Withal: You’re not still using “irregardless“, are you? Make the point of “nevertheless” with withal, a great word that people will think you misspelled.
  8. Veritably: Love, Actually would have been so much more original if it had been called “Love, Veritably.”
  9. Impetus: When you execs talk about giving your employees an impetus, you might be discussing raises or donuts in the break room or some other motivational tool.

 

Romantic Retools

 

  1. Cherish: Take a lesson from The Association and discover another way to say “I love you.
  2. Paragon: Tell your girlfriend she is a paragon of beauty and you’ll score major brownie points once she’s looked it up.
  3. Pulchritudinous: …Or you could call her “pulchritudinous.” How fantastic is that word? Of course, you will have to quickly assure her it’s a compliment.
  4. Recherché: Your wife’s dress isn’t just elegant, it’s exquisite, refined, exotic… recherché.
  5. Despondent: Sad is what you are when you spill wine on your pants. When your baby leaves you high and dry in the cold, cruel world, you’re despondent.
  6. Loathe: People say “hate” is a strong word, but it’s got nothing on “loathe.
  7. Abjure: There’s no doubt saying you “dumped” someone is colorful, but if you want to say it in style and with authority, say you abjured that cheatin’ man.
  8. Yearn: Do justice to your desire to possess that special someone. You don’t want to date them, you yearn for them.

 

Dignified Descriptors

 

  1. Atrocious: You spilled your coffee, broke a shoelace, smeared the lipstick on your face. That’s not a bad day, it’s atrocious.
  2. Spanking: The only socially-acceptable way to incorporate “spanking” into a polite conversation is to use it instead of the word “good.”
  3. Transcendent: If you say something is “awesome,” you’re saying it inspires fear or awe in you. So pizza cannot be awesome. What it can be is transcendent or excellent.
  4. Gobs: Make your old English teacher happy and stop using “lots.” “Gobs” is so much more fun to say anyway.
  5. Opined: “Said” is perfectly functional and perfectly acceptable and perfectly boring. If someone is giving their opinion, say they “opined.”
  6. Parry: Really, there’s no reason to use “said” unless you write for a newspaper. Parry back and forth with your debate partner using your newfound word gems.
  7. Asseverate: Last one: To asseverate is to declare earnestly or solemnly. So help you God.
  8. Altitudinous: Get creative when referring to your tall friend from high school. “That guy was downright altitudinous!
  9. Corpulent: If you’re going to call someone fat, at least find an unusual way to do it, like with this word.
  10. Lummox: So many great insult words, so little time. Take a line from Stewie and call that moron a “bovine lummox.”

SOURCE

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Synonyms for the 96 most commonly used words in English

Amazing incredible, unbelievable, improbable, fabulous, wonderful, fantastic, astonishing, astounding, extraordinary

Anger enrage, infuriate, arouse, nettle, exasperate, inflame, madden

Angry mad, furious, enraged, excited, wrathful, indignant, exasperated, aroused, inflamed

 

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