I have to admit I have a strong attachment to the phrase due to a (different, actually) game I played when I was younger. It was used in that game to signify a knight serving Light, and specifically one who had undergone trials that he couldn't pass if he wasn't of the right type; so being a Paladin, having passed this test that no one had ever passed before, said a lot about his inner character (which was also borne out by his actions, of course-- but because he was a Paladin and because of what this meant, one knew that those actions were really true to what was inside him, that he really was like that through and through... it was just a lovely and fascinating thought, to me.)
Chained_bear is right. It is misspelled. (I know this because kids used to come up to me when I was a little girl and ask me if I could spell it for them; I'd seen it written somewhere and so I could, and... well, they shouldn't ASK a question if they don't want to hear the answer...)
Also, and this is a bit of a more subtle thing, I find myself disagreeing that active voice is truly preferable to passive voice. It's a decent guideline to get at the problem, but the underlying thing that often correlates with active voice making for better sentences is not, in fact, a matter of the verbs-- it's a matter of the nouns.
Instead of "use active voice rather than passive", I would suggest "always make the most important noun in the sentence be the subject." This puts the emphasis of the sentence where it belongs. Of course, this often does correlate to using active voice, but not always.
For instance, I would argue that "the document was signed this afternoon" is better than "the managers signed the document this afternoon" in cases where no one really cares *who* signed it nearly as much as they care that the document has finally been signed. On the other hand, if we were wondering whether it was signed by the managers themselves or by some proxy, the latter would probably be a better sentence. The subject is the focus of the sentence, and as such it should involve the noun that the sentence is meant to tell us about.
I agree with utilizelessness (who I think has acquired a new nickname now) that varying your word choice really isn't about trying desperately for synonyms. It's about finding new ways to describe things, and rearranging your sentences if need be (especially since, of course, you're also supposed to vary sentence structure). "Vary your word choice" is one of those things that might be useful in fourth grade but shouldn't be clung to as the writer becomes more sophisticated, and it's also far less important of a rule than "be simple and clear".
One thing that makes me wince is when beginning writers think they have to keep coming up with new synonyms for "said" in order to vary word choice, and aforementioned synonyms don't exactly fit with what is happening in the story. Small and common words like "said" are, in fact, invisible-- no one will notice if you repeat them, but they sure as heck will notice if you have to resort to "expounded" or somesuch. Some words are simply so common that people don't notice their being repeated; what one wants to avoid repeating is unusual words and especially descriptive ones. I.e. don't describe every blue thing in the story as "azure", and, for that matter, don't tack on "big" before every noun in your description (I once tutored a student who did that, and while "big" is fairly common, it was still noticeable that she had to keep telling us of the bigness of every object in the house. It started to feel like a fairy tale about giants after a while.)
What about "sammich" for "sandwich"? My friend once interrupted a conversation to praise me for saying this properly. Now I can't stop noticing that everyone else pronounces it wrong. I've never heard "sangwich", though.
Oh, I did the same thing in the state spelling bee. Got all the way up to twelfth place, and was so nervous-- and so aware that I couldn't make any sounds such as "um"-- that I spelled "um" in the middle of the word.
I was so sad, because I'd been sick the previous year and hadn't been able to compete, and that year was my last chance to make it to nationals... I knew how to spell "speciesism", I swear. It wasn't even hard! Just "species" with an "ism"! And I knew all the other words that came after my turn, too. Ah, my poor little thirteen-year-old heart was broken...
--But yeah, I always assumed that words like "jeez" were formed because no one actually wanted to blaspheme, but they wanted to use the useful phrase for that use (not to be used for the other use). So they figured that if they weren't actually saying "Jesus", it wasn't blasphemy, even if that's what they meant. Or perhaps they started to say it and bit it off short because they remembered they didn't want to say it.
seanmeade: You know, I never had trouble with the difference when I was little, until my dad had told me so many times about his own tendency to mix them up that I started mixing them up as well. Confusion can be horribly contagious like that.
I think "pro-life" may not be a coded term in that everyone knows what it means, but it definitely describes a set of values that are not obvious when you hear it. It means specifically "pro-letting-fetuses-live", not "pro-living-things-in-general". Or even "pro-letting-humans-live", since sometimes it involves legislation that makes it hard to save a mother's life in time. It's specifically pro-not-killing-a-very-specific-thing. More accurately it's just anti-abortion.
"Anti-" is such a negative prefix, though, that even aside from the way "pro-life" is a manipulative phrase-- who wants to imply that they are "anti-life" by contrast?-- I can see why those groups don't want to use it. "Anti-" anything has a sort of restrictive, nasty sound. I suppose they could achieve more clarity by calling themselves "pro-fetus", but even that carries a little bit of the "pro-life" manipulation; no one wants to say they are "anti-fetus" either...
When I was little, I used to think (based on an extremely vague contextual speculation, I suppose) that it meant you were so bad you would never, ever be a sufficiently upstanding citizen to become famous. Of course, this was before I knew anything about famous people.
What, you mean "transparent" used to mean "someone can easily see how this works"? I would say it has a toehold on contranymity, as a non-opaque item would be harder to see and understand than an opaque one.
If it does more than substitute for "use", why can't anyone point out exactly what it is doing? My boyfriend said the same thing, that he found it useful (utilizeful? =P) and yet was not able to pinpoint/explain what he thought the difference was. I'll believe and embrace the distinction when someone explains to me what it is.
Oct 30, 2007
Comments for cathari
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I love your "more about" profile, too. Really, those are all the things that one needs to know about something: is it beautiful; is it sincere; is it real. And frequently something that is one of those three will also be the other two....