Similes and metaphors by Angela Caldin

What’s the difference? Both similes and metaphors are used to make writing more interesting by using striking comparisons. The difference between them comes down to two words. Similes use the words like or as to compare things: The thunder sounded like several fireworks going off at once. In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison, as in Katy Perry’s song: Baby, you’re a firework! Here are some other examples of similes and metaphors: Life is like a box of chocolates. (Simile) My life is an open book. (Metaphor) The dancer’s hands fluttered like… Read More

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” (Joni Mitchell) by Trevor Plumbly

“There ain’t half been some clever bastards” (Ian Dury) I listened to a British talk show recently and, like NZ and Oz, they’ve got loads of folk waffling about the mundane things of life. The target for these media crusaders (let’s call them ‘progressives’) was language; this particular bunch decided, after some deliberation, that certain descriptive terms are no longer acceptable. They focussed on name-calling: describing someone as ‘skinny’, ‘tubby’ and the like is ‘body shaming’ and must now be considered emotionally damaging. I was shocked by the attack on British schoolboy… Read More

Words sometimes confused: incredible and incredulous by Angela Caldin

Incredible means that something is difficult to believe whereas incredulous means that someone is unwilling or unable to believe. So something that seems unbelievable or implausible is incredible, but if you have trouble believing something, you are incredulous. The word incredible is often overused to describe something astounding. It applies to an unbelievable situation, while incredulous applies to an unbelieving person rather than a situation. They paused for a few minutes to admire the incredible sunset, fiery red and brilliant orange against the darkening sky. Maradona was an amazing footballer with fantastic… Read More

Words sometimes confused: faint and feint by Angela Caldin

Faint and feint are homophones, but they have different meanings. Faint can be a noun, a verb, and an adjective. As a noun and verb it refers to a brief loss of consciousness. As an adjective, it means lacking in strength, conviction, clarity, or brightness. She turned her ankle so badly on the uneven path that she fell down in a faint. Noun. The shock was so great when the guilty verdict was announced that he fainted. Verb. They were hanging on to the faint hope that there were still people alive… Read More

Wordplay by Trevor Plumbly

As she is spoke Since losing most of my operational sight, I rely heavily on language to gauge reactions. Blindness, despite the myth, hasn’t improved my hearing capacity, just forced me to place more value on word use. I find it hard to accept the current trend of cutting perfectly good words in half without comment, though every time I moan about someone butchering language, I get the same chorus, ‘language is constantly evolving’. If it is, then surely it’s preferable that the process is tailored to improve it rather than reduce… Read More