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Powerful Words - Powerful Writing

OK, we spoke about powerful words previously, but we mentioned at that time that we’d revisit the topic, since there is so much to say about this.

Now is a good time for it, and we shall start from the parts of speech, more precisely the NOUNS and VERBS.

And yes, you've guessed well: the NOUNS and the VERBS are the most powerful words of them all. But there is still competition between them as well - can you tell which is stronger - a noun or a verb? Look at the example below:

Only by reading the noun "boy" alone you can imagine a little story about it, but by reading the verb "went" alone, you cannot.

What this shows us is that nouns are independent words, whereas verbs are dependent. All the other words in fact (look at 'the' and 'to' in the example above) are dependent, either directly or by implication. They depend on the existence of nouns in your sentences.

Nouns depend on nothing. You can say/write: "Tsunami." Bang, that's it! This word stands all on its own, giving your imagination a complete story to build.

If you compare a story (or a piece of writing) to a body, you will soon realise that the nouns form the skeleton and everything that's added is the muscle, sinew, blood and feelings of that body. You need a good dose of all the powerful words in order to make a balanced body, but without a skeleton to build on, the rest would just fall to the ground, powerless on their own.

Nouns are the HEROES of a story, so choose them carefully.

From the writer's point of view, one classification of the nouns is the most important - the division into concrete and abstract nouns.

Can you think why?

Readers will react better to the words they are most receptive to. Since we perceive our world through our senses, the concrete nouns are the names of our perceptions, thus they are the writer's most explosive ammunition.

For instance, imagine you're reading a story about 'knowledge' and 'happiness', 'love' and 'trust'. Would you feel more comfortable with the words on the left (concrete) or the one on the right (abstract words)?

Powerful words - an example:


Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play.
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

(by Sara Teasdale)

Consider the second last line: "But the kiss in Colin's eyes" and imagine what would have been lost had the writer been tempted to use the abstract word 'look' instead of 'kiss' in that line. The concrete 'kiss' haunts us too, because it makes of a mere look something so tangible.

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