The words we use
Words are the building blocks every writer uses to create stories, novels, poems, articles and many other forms of the written word. Like most writers, words and how to use them fascinate me.
In recent years one use of words has intrigued me more than most: signs. I’ve actually taken quite a few photos of signs. Some amuse me, some intrigue me and others frustrate me. One that amused me was above a restaurant in Kathmandu a few years ago. It was called the “Sweet Memorize Restaurant”. I guess that they didn’t have a printed menu and that customers had to commit to memory all the various dishes – or perhaps it was just the list of desserts and other sweets that one had to commit to memory.
Another shop sign that annoys me every time I drive past it near my home announces “Gwenny’s Emporium.” Mmm… it’s a tin shed for goodness sake! The word “emporium” indicates a wide range of goods for sale and so it is relatively accurate. I my mind, however, I have the impression that the word also implies a grandiose, magnificent building. There’s nothing in the basic meaning that indicates that it has to be such a building, but all the same, that’s the image I have in my mind. A shed simply does not cut it in my opinion.
As writers we need to be constantly on the alert about the ways we use words. We usually don’t have the chance to explain to the reader exactly what we mean. Misunderstandings do happen. We should strive to be as accurate and as unambiguous as possible.