I happen to enjoy words and would just as soon read a dictionary or thesaurus as I would a novel. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But I do find words that are new to me fascinating. I also have trouble with words that I can’t remember. I’m not referring to those times when I have a senior moment (although those times are becoming more frequent). I mean when my girlfriend and I want to go to a particular restaurant and I have to describe it – “You know where they have lovely clothes and unusual gifts.” And after I mention the address, the rocking chairs on the porch and the last time we were there she says, “Cracker Barrel?” That word forever eludes me.
|Part of my wordsmith library.|
I’ve been asking people if they have particular words that give them problems. My friend in work said “Orange.” Anytime she has to spell that word, she has a hard time. Okay, that may be a stretch. After all, how often do you have to write the word, and where’s the problem if you misspell it on a grocery list?
Unless you’re dealing with my father. He had a fit every time my mother misspelled margarine or mayonnaise on the shopping lists she gave him. They’d argue over her spelling whenever he went to the store for her because she always managed to misspell at least one word. He never understood why she couldn’t learn the proper way to spell. (I sometime wondered if she refused to learn them on principle.) He read two newspapers, front to back, every day. Whenever I asked him to spell something for me for one of my school projects, he always told me to look it up in the dictionary. After struggling with it for a while, he’d give in and spell the word for me. And he was always right!
|My parents on their 25th Wedding Anniversary.|
If I have a problem with a particular word, I’ll spend a great deal of time on it, so I’ll remember it in the future. Restaurant once gave me a lot of difficulties. I missed kitchen in a 4th grade spelling bee never to forget it again. Now I struggle every time I write “every time.” Sounds like a simple word, but I cannot understand why anytime is one word but every time is two?
I asked some writers at Valley of the Sun if they have any particular words that give them trouble. One woman has problems with lie or lay. Which one should she use? Instead of trying to figure it out, she tells her characters to just get on the bed!
What about effect or affect? How about shine verses shone? The latter never sounds right.
One website I enjoy for words is http://www.merriam-webster.com/ There are quizzes and all types of fun games with words if you don’t mind the popups that distract on the sides. There’s a section for commonly confused words that includes affect and effect. But I didn’t see orange anywhere.
Do you have a word or words that boggle your mind? If you can think of one, let me know.