Sunday, January 10, 2016

Use More Expressive Words!

Gotta love this!
English teachers were once satisfied if they could prevent their pupils from splitting infinitives. Now some also want to stop them from using words like "good," "bad," "fun" and "said."
"We call them dead words," said (or declared) Leilen Shelton, a middle school teacher in Costa Mesa, Calif. She and many others strive to purge pupils' compositions of words deemed vague or dull. 
"There are so many more sophisticated, rich words to use," said (or affirmed) Ms. Shelton, whose manual "Banish Boring Words" has sold nearly 80,000 copies since 2009.
Her pupils know better than to use a boring word like "said." As Ms. Shelton put it, " 'Said' doesn't have any emotion. You might use barked. Maybe howled. Demanded. Cackled. I have a list."
So does the Powell River Board of Education in British Columbia. Its website provides a list of 397 alternatives to the dreaded "said." They include "emitted," "beseeched," "continued," "sniveled," and "spewed."
The goal is livelier writing. The result can be confusion.

'Use More Expressive Words!' Teachers Bark, Beseech, Implore
To encourage lively writing, instructors put certain words to rest; no more 'fun'
Megan Riley displays a list of banned words outside her middle school in Mt. Lebanon, Pa. Photo: James R. Hagerty/The Wall Street Journal
By James R. Hagerty
Nov. 29, 2015 5:15 p.m. ET

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