Writing keeps me humble. There are words I worry about now in my writing that I used to not be concerned about. Since I’ve claimed aloud to be a writer, I feel the spotlight on all my written words. Sometimes I come up short.
Memory and Age
Memory and age begin to take a toll. Words that I used to spell or remember the definition of without a second thought now fall into the “need to look it up” category. Some words I’ve thought to be synonymous aren’t quite equal when examined. I continually learn of words I have used incorrectly all my life. It happens often enough that I’m losing my confidence.
Mark Nichol’s list
After creating an account on StumbleUpon last week, I stumbled upon Mark Nichol’s article, “50 Problem Words and Phrases” https://www.dailywritingtips.com/50-problem-words-and-phrases/. In today’s blog post, I’ll share a few examples of words that give me trouble.
- Compare to / compare with – Compare to implies only similarity; whereas, compare with implies similarity and contrast.
- Each other / one another – Use one another when more than two are involved. (Who knew?)
- Jealousy / envy – If I am jealous of you, I resent your having something. If I envy you, I covet something you have. (I’ve didn’t realize there was a difference until reading Mr. Nichol’s article cited above.)
- Since / because – As stated by Mr. Nichol in his article, “Informally, these terms are interchangeable, but in formal writing, since should be used only to refer to time.” (This one from Mr. Nichol’s article was new to me, too.)
- Transcript / transcription – Mr. Nichol stated, “A transcript is a thing; a transcription is the process of creating it.” (I know I’ve been guilty of using “transcription” when I should have written “transcript.”
I need to keep Mark Nichol’s list of “50 Problem Words and Phrases” handy as I’m writing. The more I read about the sometimes subtle nuances of words, the less confident I am in my writing.
Self-Editing The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
I’m having flashbacks of the days when I had to follow the 1,000+-page gold standard of American English, The Chicago Manual of Style, as I self-edited the manuscript for my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.* That’s when I began to realize that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.
Writing keeps me humble.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. (Among other things, I’m reading Camino Island, by John Grisham.)
If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time and a better memory than I have for spelling and proper word usage.
*Shameless Plug: In case you haven’t purchased a copy of my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, please look for it at any independent bookstore. If it’s not on the shelf, please request it. If that doesn’t work, you can order it from Amazon.com.