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April 03, 2006

Strunk and Light V: Ugh!

... cont. from ... yeah ... well ...

V. Ugh!
to pad: ugh! Just …ugh! Why would you want to use this? Just say “walked barefoot” or “walked softly wearing only her socks,” or if that’s too much detail for you, then just “walked” or “went”.
to sport: people don’t “sport” things, they wear them. What does “sporting” something mean, anyway? Why “sport”? Do you know? Why do you use it? You sound clichéd. Yuck!
to munch: note, this is not “to munch on”, which is bad enough. But people are now using “to munch” to replace “to eat”, as in He munched his sandwich in the car. Did you guys notice that it’s onomatopoeic? It sounds like what it’s saying. Eeeeeeww. Normally, you’re supposed to make things vivid in your writing, but I don’t wanna hear people chewing! No!
the swell of her breast: argh! Ptui! If you can’t do sex or desire better than this, then you’d better not do it at all. And if you think that you can “cup her breast” or “enter her”, then while yer at it, why don’t you just “stroke his length”, too. Eew. (side note: I wouldn’t mind bringing back “throbbing member” if anyone has the stones.)
to perch: birds “perch,” humans don’t. If you want to indicate that someone is balanced in a high position then use “perch” if you must. Otherwise, use “stand” or “sit” or “crouch” or “lie” or whatever. Anything but the overused “perch.” And especially not “perched atop”!!!!! Ugh! No hats perched atop people’s heads! No! And especially no people sporting hats perched atop their heads! Just kill me now if you’re going to do that!
to poke gentle fun: if yer gonna poke something … well don’t poke fun anyway. Make fun of, if you want to, or mock. Yeah! Go ahead and mock, please. But don’t poke fun, and whatever you do, don’t make it, by God, gentle. Eew.
belly: I have no outright objection to this word for its own sake, only it’s so outrageously overused, and overused in the apparent belief that it is more “poetic” than “stomach” or “abdomen” or “tummy” or “midriff” or “gut” or “paunch” or “midsection”… or my favorite slang stand-in, “pooch”. The word is especially popular among women. Think on this: they even named a girl indie-rock band from the early nineties “belly”. It’s not more poetic, it’s more clichéd. And it’s gross now.
to craft: Okay, dude, I know yer, like, sooper precious about the fact that writing is a craft and not, like, just plain “work”, but “craft” really isn’t a verb. I mean, it is now, what with all these people writing that He has crafted a tale of astounding beauty ‘n’ all, but really, you don’t need to point this out ad extreme nauseam. Use “make” or “create” or “write” or “sew” or “paint” or “direct” or whatever verb specifically refers to the action that created the thing and isn’t grossly smarmy.
to pen: it’s supposed to mean “to enclose with a fence” but it’s now being used to mean “to write”, as in He penned a poem of exquisite delicacy. This is especially icky and smarmy given the fact that more and more writers nowadays don’t actually compose with a pen. Just be kind to me and write “to write”. Please.

Next time: stuff that's just wrong ...

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