Issue 22 December, 2014
There’s writing, and there’s expressive writing. This issue of Wordnerdery shares examples of colourful, specific and even enchanting ways of making a memorable point.
More expressive writing
Finding phrases that practically sing always gives me a thrill. (What can I say; it’s the word nerd in me.) Here are some treasures found recently:
A "linguistic cicada" is a word that emerges when the opportunity arises. An example is "unfriend," which dates back to 1659, lay fallow for about 350 years, and "reappeared with a vengeance" in the Facebook age.
- Oxford Dictionaries
The sprawling interior of Sam the Record Man’s store on Yonge Street was “organized with all the finesse of a steamer trunk packed by somebody given five minutes’ notice to leave the country.”
- Gerald Levitch, quoted in The Globe and Mail
“[Soccer player Andrés] Iniesta’s natural reticence is balanced by a chimney sweep’s comfort in tight spaces.”
- Jeré Longman, quoted in Five Journalists Offer Free Lessons in Business Storytelling
“For all those who are ready to set their quills to parchment and declare the end of the English language, now that such frivolous terms [as 'hot mess' and 'binge-watch'] are getting respect from Oxford, please keep in mind that this is not the Oxford English Dictionary. That arm of the family is more like the serious and intellectual grandfather who constantly withholds his approval from younger generations.”
- TIME magazine on new words
“[MacGowan] sang like a man serenading the bottom of a garbage can, pausing while on a stumble through the dark streets of his life.”
- Dave Bidini in the National Post, on his favourite Christmas song
“The report is, shall we say, unwieldy in its use of jargon, and densely forested with word-thickets where management likes to hide the bodies.”
- Elizabeth Renzetti, describing the jargon in management’s report on the future of the CBC
"Most of these little businesses -- the ones we fondly call mom-and-pop shops -- were boarded up long ago, and their neon OPEN signs flicker only in family legend."
- Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, in Inc.
“Part B [of his life] was a six-car pileup of clichés.”
- Dan Pink in a 2014 convocation address to Weinberg College
What expressive writing have you noticed lately? Hit "reply" and tell me about it! And let me know if you'd like help creating your own memorable imagery.
Images: Cicada by "pakorn" and FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Sue by Chris Salvo, salvophoto.com.