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And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need to show in our written words. Of course, I’m also fond of popping in a few less common words and making the meaning clear to readers by the surrounding context. Even when I was a child German was the language school was taught in some places in Central TX – along with Spanish in other. I used the term “sinewy” in a scene and someone in my writer’s group said she thought the word was overused. , In simple terms, the purpose of language is to communicate. They switched to English only with the spread of radio. Hmm, maybe she wouldn’t have thought the Straight Dope was so hilarious after all. Wordsmiths. This meme can also be found online with pictures of a discontent Queen I used to think bemusement was like befuddled amusement, but in Moyes case, the character was worriedly amused. . Thanks, Kate! Now that would pull me out of the story! His wife is not distracted or absorbed by anything. What I worry so many of them aren’t grasping when they’re corrected on the “proper” use of a word or phrase, though, is that their intent is being muddled, thus causing any value in their critical argument to falter. , Lesson learned: don’t ever use the word bemused. There’s a whole other post! They’re damn effective! John is confused by his sister’s seeming generosity. Writers. It was fun coming up with examples, although not as easy as I might’ve liked. “He reached clumsily for his keys” can be revised to “He fumbled for his keys.” Or, “She said gently” reminds me to make sure her dialogue makes that feeling clear. Every now and again I pick up a book from the 1990s and early 2000s, and the discussions of cell phones and computers brings a smile to my face. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. What is the origin of the song “There’s a place in France/Where the naked ladies dance?” Are bay leaves poisonous. Mostly I prefer the author to describe the feeling rather than using a word to describe the emotion. Nice to see one from you! I’m willing to bet other readers were as “confused” as you were by the use of bemuse. , Sometimes I have to look up a word choice because I’d swear I’m right, but either I’m not or there are multiple meanings like this one. The two words are so similar. I chose the first option because I’m a bit of a pedant – and it made me laugh! But it would be fun to have the characters misunderstanding and see where it led the conversation. And I completely agree with you about “literal.” I literally had the word in mind when I asked that question at the end! It’s a wonder humans can communicate ideas at all. Looking at the (very limited) poll results, it’s almost an even split between the three options. I was hoping people would find the examples to be illustrative rather than confusing/bemusing/amusing.

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