Friday, January 15, 2016

I'll Commence My Car Now

Well, now, that would be weird, wouldn't it?

Begin, commence, start. All mean pretty much the same thing. Or, do they? All three have essentially the same definition--to initiate something--but words are so much more than their dictionary meanings. There's power behind words, emotion, history. I might "Begin the Beguine" or begin a search. Or a teacher might say to students, "Let's begin," when she wants them to take a timed test.

"We shall now commence."

A little more formal, perhaps. Sounds like the beginning of a formal ceremony.

Then, there's start. "I'm gonna start my car." "Start 'er up, man." A lot less formal. We don't say "...commence my car," or "...begin my car," although all three of those are defined about the same.

About the same. But not exactly. The Thesaurus is a powerful tool for writers, but like any tool, it can be dangerous. Use its power wisely. Think about the emotion, the history behind a word.

Take me, for instance. When talking, I season my speech with "cool" and "man," so you can guess what era I'm from. If you write a character the way I speak, you need to make sure you've got him or her pinned down to correct time period, and also the correct part of the world.

More on this later.

'Keep writing, friends (buds, comrades, pals, amigos y amigas...)

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