Author Topic: Big Words  (Read 4086 times)

GondorianPrincess

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Big Words
« on: February 07, 2009, 01:54:47 PM »
Quote
It is pronounced *egregious*. ~ Captain Jack Sparrow

I know, I know, you are probably thinking how bloody weird I am.
But, now-a-days I do not see such words as this. I had to go look this up just to sate my own curiosity.
Now, I would love to use this word in my book. I just love it. I also picked up "Pernicious" from a Jane Austen Mystery book that I got at a second hand store.

Would others like to see such words in a book if used corectly?

Offline Andrewf

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2009, 01:58:47 PM »
only by a well educated and erudite character...


Or one that became such, after donning magical spectacles...  ;D ;D
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GondorianPrincess

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2009, 02:26:32 PM »
only by a well educated and erudite character...


Or one that became such, after donning magical spectacles...  ;D ;D

"Magical Spectacles" - why had I not thought of that.
That is hilarious, I shall keep that one in mind. *lol*

Offline Andrewf

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2009, 04:17:04 PM »
Yeah... You cant have the character suddenly start using long words without some cause ;D
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GondorianPrincess

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2009, 04:21:31 PM »
Yeah... You cant have the character suddenly start using long words without some cause ;D

True, they have to start out that way. Sometimes though, I ignore that rule and put the word in anyway.
Mostly because it sounds good in the sentence and lends a different air of meaning to it.

example -

The dangerous storm took us by surprise.

example 2 -

The pernicious Storm took us by surprise.

I like the second better. Not because I used a "big" word, but because the word "Pernicious" means "dangerous" and other such words.

Offline Andrewf

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2009, 04:40:13 PM »
I like the second better. Not because I used a "big" word, but because the word "Pernicious" means "dangerous" and other such words.

But it also has a meaning of harmful intent...  So in your example it sounds like the storm intends to do harm...   which could be the case in a fantasy story ;D ;D
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Offline Spell Chick

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2009, 04:42:27 PM »
My sister, who teaches kindergarten, says I use too many big words in my everyday writing.
Fie on her.
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GondorianPrincess

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2009, 04:50:49 PM »
Andrew -

I totally didn't get it when I read it in my Jane Austen mystery book. But I looked it up and fell in love. I tend to use all the time now.

SpChick -

I don't think it is wrong to use big words. Obiously it comes naturally to you and these day, kids need all the help with their lexicon as they get. How many times must I hear the word "dude" before I want to rip the person's tongue out and call them "Cotton"!?

Offline Andrewf

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2009, 05:15:38 PM »
Dude!!!...  :o    Harsh dude...  8)    :D :D :D
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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Orpheus

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2009, 05:58:49 PM »
I tried reading Prince of Tides when I was a teenager and needed a dictionary to help me get through it. The book did however, introduce me to one of my favourite words - chiaroscuro.

A free drink to anyone who can tell me what it means without looking it up. ;D
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 06:01:12 PM by Orpheus »

Offline eric

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2009, 06:20:51 PM »
Chiaroscuro means either a funny sort of color or Cher's protege.

Orpheus

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2009, 06:25:56 PM »
Nice try Eric, but I need a bit more than that if I'm gonna stick my hand in my pocket.  ;)

GondorianPrincess

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2009, 07:15:00 PM »
Dude!!!...  :o    Harsh dude...  8)    :D :D :D

Maybe just a little bit, but that's the problem these day, good words are hard to come by and incompacitorily finding us at a loss of how to correct said situation.

Wolfe

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2009, 01:03:11 AM »
The answer depends on the audience the writer targets.  For me, neither examples work.  My sentence would read:  The storm surprised us.

The reason The dangerous storm took us by surprise or The pernicious Storm took us by surprise don't work is because:


1. What storm isn't dangerous? It's a given.
2. Took us by surprise is cliché and passive voice.
3. Pernicious is going to fly over most readers.  And if they don't get it, they won't read it.
4. Pernicious sounds like the author is showing off his or her vocabulary.
5. Big vocabulary often comes off snotty or arrogant to the reader.
6. Big vocabulary is one step from purple prose.


Sorry, but unless you're writing for academia, the answer is no.

Wolfe

Offline Amie

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Re: Big Words
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2009, 05:44:34 AM »
I generally agree with Wolfe, but I think it's a matter of voice. Using big words for the sake of it sounds stilted - but if that's just the way you speak (or the way your character speaks) then it could sound entirely natural.

I actually use the word egregious fairly regularly ;) - I think this may be because I used to hang out with a lot of camp men ;) .  Pernicious doesn't seem overblown to me either (although, like Wolfe, I wouldn't use it in the example above). I guess it comes down to, are you using the words to create fresh, sharp imagery and clarity of story, or are you using them to show off that you know them. If the latter, it's usually pretty obvious and a bit dull.

Then again, I knew someone who used the word 'trepidatious' practically every day, and it always sounded strange to me, so maybe my previous arguments don't apply :)
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