This week’s quick and dirty (but I promise, no math) lesson: There is no transitive property of synonyms

The alert coffee bamboozle started in excess of the idle bitch’s sponsor.

Did that make sense to you?  What if I told you it was supposed to mean “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’s back?”

Beginning writers often suffer from word fatigue.  Think about when you first started writing dialogue, and every time a character spoke you thought you had to end the sentence with “said.”

“Hello,” Floyd said.

“Hello,” Holly said.

“Isn’t it a nice day,” Floyd said.

“No, I think my father is going to die,” Holly said.

At this point you probably don’t care if Holly is an orphan by the time the next “said” rolls around, right?  That’s word fatigue.  Intermediate writers learn to combat this by using synonyms, but may fall into the next trap: synonyms are words with similar, not identical, meanings.

Here is an EXTREMELY truncated sample of what I see when I look up “said” in my thesaurus: tell, speak, relate, state, announce, remark, pronounce, declare, assert, maintain, opine, answer, respond, reply, affirm, allege, annunciate, argue, articulate, aver, avouch, avow, comment, conclude, contend, crack, disclose, echo, enunciate, exclaim, grant, indicate, insinuate, insist, interject, observe, proclaim, profess, protest, recite, rejoin, repeat, retort, reveal, suggest, verbalize, vocalize, voice, whisper, convey, utter, shout, and burble.

Holy crap.

All of those words can be used to replace “said.”  You might notice, however, that “shout” and “whisper” don’t mean the same thing at all!  Neither do “annunciate” and “enunciate.”  If a word isn’t part of your everyday vocabulary, look it up in a dictionary to make sure it has the right flavor before using it in your writing.  Otherwise you may end up with an alert coffee bamboozle where a quick brown fox should be.

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Yeah write #166 traditional challenge grid is open right here…


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