We act as a host family to language students which has been and still is a brilliant and very amusing experience for all of us. Over dinner the other night one of the students was exasperated by the number of synonyms there were in the English language for most words.It meant that learning vocabulary was a never ending tree of items to memorise, each word branching out into several others that meant almost the same thing, each of those words branching out again into several more.
Why not have one word for describing something and be done with it he asked? I do sympathise with him but unfortunately his exasperation is my joy. As i tried explaining to him how, as a writer it is incredible fun to have such an arsenal of vocabulary. It can make my job harder as I scrunch up my face, trying to chase that elusive word that I know is in my brain when all the other words just don’t seem to fit, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s what I love about writing and writing for a variety of clients. You are constantly challenged to find ways of expressing ideas and having to write in differing styles.
Unfortunately my enthusiasm wasn’t really helping him and so I asked him if there was any particular vocabulary that I could help with.
“What does “appreciate” mean?
“Ahh, well that can have several meanings…” I started, smiling at him apologetically before launching into them with gusto.