Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

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Snowflower
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Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#1 Post by Snowflower » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:04 am

So growing up, my english teachers were always so pesky about the "dead words." They are actually really bland words that could easily replaced by their synonyms. I thought I should start a list where people can build upon as far as the dead words go.

This is a list of dead words I found on google! Let's add synonyms together :) I took the liberty to add a word that can replace each of the words. Feel free to list more!

a lot, lots numerously
also in addition to
awesome, cool, rad fantastic, marvelous
awful wretched , horrid
but however
fun entertaining, exhilarating
funny hilarious
got, get acquired
good splendid
great superb
guy individual
have to must
kid child, youngster
like similarly,
mad frustrated
nice delightful, charming
pretty beautiful, attractive
scared terrified frightened
so therefore
very extremely
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#2 Post by Asceai » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:23 am

90% of adverbs can go in this list too. And you don't need to replace them, just take them out.

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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#3 Post by Rossfellow » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:32 am

There's no such thing as "dead" words. Think of words like shades in the color spectrum. There are colors you don't use often, but it doesn't mean they're "dead" colors. Their usage is limited by your creativity and you should use the deadest color you can find if your work needs it.

In context of words, each of those examples carry different tones. The tone of the word also contributes to the characterization of the "speaker", whether it's the narrator or someone talking. There are words you'll be using less often, of course, but that doesn't make them "dead" words. Basic, sure, but not dead.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#4 Post by Snowflower » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:37 am

Well I guess what I was getting at were the "bland" words then. Words that can be easily replaced with another to make it more exciting?
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#5 Post by Rossfellow » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:04 am

Snowflower wrote:Well I guess what I was getting at were the "bland" words then. Words that can be easily replaced with another to make it more exciting?
Maybe in traditional literature writing, sure. In the context of modern fiction, including visual novels, you can write using the voice of someone who isn't very verbose or literate- and that's where "bland" words shine.
n: "The battle between Vanillaman and Netorarius rages on at supersonic speeds. It's all happening so fast that my mind can only record bits and pieces of the after-images they leave behind."
n: "I can't grasp what's going on, other than the fact that it's freaking awesome."
Yoriko: "Why do I draw, you ask? Hmm."
Yoriko: "I never really thought about that. It's fun, I guess?"
n: "Echoing through the halls is a hurricane of awful otherworldly noises. I don't think opening this door is a good idea."
If you replace the underlines with "better" words, the effect changes. Characterization plays a role in story writing. What your teachers are teaching you is how to tell your readers "I'm clever", which some might enjoy, but I sure don't.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#6 Post by Hazel-Bun » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:15 am

I was just about to comment but, its been explained better any way haha! I think this was brought up before when the adverb slayer post came up but, yeah. All words serve a purpose in the English language. People are also more likely to use different kinds of words depending on their upbringing, etc.

I'll use the "kid" example as it's featured in my own VN. It makes sense for a seemingly educated man to use the word "child" but, it characterizes him in some people's eyes as aloof or and pretentious. Same with "youngster". A lot (*drum and cymbal splash here*) of individuals would assume he's an older gentleman as that's not something commmonly my said anymore.

You have to be careful when trying to "spice" up your writing as it may lead the reader to think things you weren't intending.

I say grab a thesaurus and nail down your character, rather than come up with a list of words that may or may not fit the situation at hand :)

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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#7 Post by SundownKid » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:04 am

As was mentioned already, they aren't really dead words, it just depends on who the narrator is. If the narrator is a teenager, he would probably use "cool" instead of "marvelous" - unless he was a particularly erudite teen.

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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#8 Post by Snowflower » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:07 am

I think everyone's getting a different idea of what I intended this post to be as.
I posted with the intension of getting a different words for some of the generic ones. I'm not saying we should stop using those words all together but to see if there are different words to replace it with instead. LIke a building list.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#9 Post by Holland » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:24 pm

... :0

Like you guys said, characters talk differently depending on their upbringings. That's not limited to talking informally. What if you've got a character from royalty that's been raised with the best tutors? Or an old man whose lived on his poetry? It's not bad practice to learn to write with more complex vocabulary in case one of those characters pops into your story (or you happen to choose a formal narrator). Becoming confident in using it and choosing to use it are two very different things. Snow's wording was kind of bad in the OP by calling them dead words, but it's obvious she didn't mean it to be taken that way.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#10 Post by Arowana » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:17 pm

You might want to check thesaurus.com. They should have lots of words you can add to your list. :D

Like the previous posters have said, though, I don’t think we should use synonyms just for the sake of using synonyms. Those words may have similar meanings, but different connotations for tone, formality, etc., so they’re not as interchangeable as they might seem. Also, a less “generic” word isn’t necessarily more exciting – in fact, it can sound out-of-place, purple-prose-y, or pretentious. I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse here, but one of my pet peeves is characters (especially first person narrators) with overly fancy diction that doesn’t match their age/background. It sounds unnatural (do people actually talk like that?) and makes me wish for "generic" conversational words instead. ^^;
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#11 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:34 pm

Arowana wrote:Also, a less “generic” word isn’t necessarily more exciting – in fact, it can sound out-of-place, purple-prose-y, or pretentious.
I think this is the main lesson to be learned here.
It sounds unnatural (do people actually talk like that?) and makes me wish for "generic" conversational words instead. ^^;
Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who use plenty of ten-dollar words in everyday speech. An old school friend of mine possessed a vast vocabulary for his age. It was comparable to mine. But unlike me, he didn't use more "generic" words when speaking to our peers. Unfortunately, it made him a target for bullies, because it's easy to pick on someone you can't, or don't want to, understand.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#12 Post by Snowflower » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:44 pm

I just wanted people to make a list. I wasnt saying lets never ever use all these words. Perhaps the english major side of me was what initiated this post. This was for fun
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#13 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:49 pm

Snowflower wrote:I just wanted people to make a list. I wasnt saying lets never ever use all these words. Perhaps the english major side of me was what initiated this post. This was for fun
Nobody's criticizing you or saying that you're wrong to want to make a list of synonyms. But it might be best to draft a Google Doc for something like that so that multiple people can just add to it freely.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#14 Post by MaiMai » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:38 pm

Yeah, a Google Doc that people could publicly edit seems better since it would be poll like to ask people to add words to the list here.
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Re: Let's get rid of DEAD WORDS

#15 Post by Arowana » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:17 am

Mad Harlequin wrote:
It sounds unnatural (do people actually talk like that?) and makes me wish for "generic" conversational words instead. ^^;
Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who use plenty of ten-dollar words in everyday speech. An old school friend of mine possessed a vast vocabulary for his age. It was comparable to mine. But unlike me, he didn't use more "generic" words when speaking to our peers. Unfortunately, it made him a target for bullies, because it's easy to pick on someone you can't, or don't want to, understand.
Oh yes, I do believe it! I know people like that too. ^^ And I'm with fine with giving big vocabularies to characters who are supposed to be highly educated (or a bit pretentious). It's when, say, ordinary little kids and slacker high school students start talking like that that I do a double take. :lol:

But yeahhh, Google Docs sounds good to me. :3
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