The following is an excerpt from The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead, in which author Charles Murray discusses words with meanings that have changed — and not always for the better.
Disinterested used to mean uninterested.
The meaning of disinterested is “free of bias and self-interest.” It is essential that a judge be disinterested, for example. Disinterested does NOT, repeat NOT, mean “lack of interest” or “uninterested.” I put this so emphatically because we’re not talking just about proper usage. Disinterest used in its correct sense is on its last legs—I’ve been appalled to see it misused in articles in the Washington Post and other major publications. English does not have another word that conveys the meaning of disinterested as economically. If we lose the distinctive meaning of the word, we have measurably degraded our ability to express ourselves in English.
Paul V. Hartman
(The Capitalized syllable gets the emphasis)
alacrity a-LACK-ra-tee cheerful willingness and promptness
anathema a-NATH-a-ma a thing or person cursed, banned, or reviled
anodyne AN-a-dine not likely to cause offence or disagreement and somewhat dull//anything that sooths or comforts
aphorism AFF-oar-ism a short, witty saying or concise principle
apostate ah-POSS-tate (also: apostasy) person who has left the fold or deserted the faith.
arrogate ARROW-gate to make an unreasonable claim
atavistic at-a-VIS-tic reverting to a primitive type
avuncular a-VUNC-you-lar “like an uncle”; benevolent
“Demystify Writing Misconceptions” was written by Joe Moxley.
Learn the beliefs that empower successful academic authors.
To become a competent, confident writer, you may find it useful to analyze your attitudes about writing. After all, your assumptions about how writers work can limit your imagination and the quality of your finished product. You can debunk a truckload of myths about writing by analyzing how you write, how your peers write, and how professional writers write.
Writer are Born Rather Than Nurtured
Stop using the dangling participle and misplaced modifiers
Both can seriously change the flow and meaning of your writing. It is important to make sure we qualify the intended words and not just any words in the sentence.
A participle is a verb that acts like an adjective and ends in –ing, such as swimming or cooking or diving. You name it! Any verb can be turned into a participle. A participial phrase is a phrase describing an action, “cooking on the stove”, “swimming in the ocean” and it is used to modify a noun in the sentence. A dangling participle modifies the unintended noun. Examples of dangling participles:
Misinterpreted: Cooking on the stove, Alice decided it was time to turn the vegetables.
It sounds as though Alice herself was being cooked on the stove.
Intended: Alice decided it was time to turn the vegetables that were cooking on the stove.
Misinterpreted: Sunburned and dehydrated, Mom decided it was time for the children to go into the house.
It sounds as though the Mom is sunburned and dehydrated.
Intended: Mom decided it was time for the children, who were sunburned and dehydrated, to go into the house.
A modifier is a word or a phrase that modifies something else in the sentence. Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something else other than what you intended.
Examples of misplaced modifiers:
“I only walked my dog.” which means you did nothing but walk the dog. You did not feed or wash it, etc.
“I walked only my dog.” which means you did not walk anyone else such as your cat or your child, etc.
“I write mostly for other blogs.” which means that you write for other blogs most of the time but you may write for other sources as well.
“I mostly write for other blogs.” which means that your main activity is to write for other blogs. You may do other things too, such as sleep and eat but most of the time, you are writing for other blogs.
This is an excerpt from a book by Farnoosh Brock, available at Amazon.
Photo credit: http://maineschoolwritingcenters.blogspot.com/
Wishing you a wonderful Monday,
You can describe your character’s feelings in more exact terms than just “happy” or “sad.” Check these lists for the exact nuance to describe your character’s intensity of feelings.