WORD NERD KLAXON: Word Frequency Calculator

April 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

would
worry
work
wonder
wishing
whack
well
week
wasted
wanting
use
up
unsure
unique
underestimate
under
uncertain
umbrella
um
trained
time
though
this
think
things
these
thesaurus
theme
than
terms
term
tbh
talk
take
systems
surprisingly
super
suggesting
subjective
stop
start
staff
spend
special
space
sources
sound
someone
snipping
situation
single
simple
show
shebang
send
semantic
selection
searcher
screed
same
rule
rid
really
real
range
provide
proud
propositions
promises
product
processes
problems
probably
prim
potential
point
play
plans
plaaaaaayyyyyy
phone
personality
percentage
people
painting
own
overnight
outcome
other
organisation
only
on
old
often
offerings
off
obviously
numbers
nothing
non
next
new
name
mysterious
menu
means
meaning
mean
maybe
made
loses
local
little
licensed
let
left
leave
learnings
kind
kill
keeping
it’s
issue
insurance
instead
instantly
injecting
individual
imagine
Hull
house
happy
had
guess
going
go
general
gaps
fully
full
fulfil
friendly
free
frantic
following
five
find
fill
favours
favourite
fast
fair
explicit
exact
everyone
etc.
especially
escort
entertainers
entailed
embarrassed
either
easy
ears
each
done
distraction
discount
discerning
Dickens
detail
demanding
delivered
decorating
customer
coy
course
costs
cool
conditioned
competition
comes
come
cliché
clear
clean
claim
choose
cheesy
checking
checked
charity
calling
call
business
builds
building
brag
boxes
both
birthday
bigger
beyond
best
being
been
because
beat
awesome
avoiding
asking
architecture
architectural
anyone
another
annoying
amazing
always
already
air
adding
actually
act
accounting
absolutely
absolute

That is a list of words I used once (as opposed to used multiple times) in a blog for Yell. I found this delightful tool called – wait for it – Word Frequency Calculator! As always, this is a nerd fest and boring to most people.

But what I enjoy about the tool is that it not only lets you see which words you’re using WAY TOO MUCH but also celebrate how many weird words you used. This Yell blog was about boring businessy phrases you should avoid and I’m tickled that I used words like coy, shebang, frantic and umbrella. Isn’t that joyful? 🙂

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Utterly Fabulous Words

February 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Words that made my week:

scintilla
(n.) a tiny, brilliant flash or spark; a small thing; a barely-visible trace.

skinship
(n.) bonding through the intimacy of touch, especially of the closeness between a parent and child

amarinthine
(adj.) undying, immortal; eternally beautiful
(adj.) a deep purple-red

peripeteia
(n.) a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances; the point of no return

brumous
(adj.) of grey skies and winter days; filled with heavy clouds or fog; relating to winter or cold, sunless weather

sirimiri
(n.) a light rain, a fine drizzle

numinous
(adj.) describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted – the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired

latibule
(n.) a hiding place; a place of safety and comfort

snollygoster
(n.) someone, especially a politician, who acts for personal gain instead of consistent, respectable principles

adoxography
(n.) beautiful writing on a subject of little or no importance

 

Follow @worddiction for a continuous stream of fantastic and underused words.

Quaintrelle: A Way of Life

February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Stripping the Corpus

January 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Good phrases from my corpus, as I am allowing myself to call it:

Feeble sex
Afraid and crying
The wrinkled shade of the canyon
Rhythm stolen
Clever pebbles
Slowly fuck the love back inside
Grimy wrist
Forgotten castle
Polished immortality
The author of tangled charity acts
Camaro snarls
The blanket creeps
Some belated chick
Tomorrow finds disease
It sank in the storm
Naive fingers dancing
Tearing holes, ruined
Lingering pulse

Rather a negative collection from my hellopoetry.com today.

I could play this game for hours. It’s how I imagine fishing to be for people who like fishing. No purpose to it really, just dreaming idly in the quiet until it’s time to go home.

Faves From The Guardian Style Guide

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Guardian’s style guide is written how I would write – HAVE written – a style guide.

attorney general
lc, no hyphen; plural attorney generals (there will be those who tell you it should be “attorneys general” – See berks and wankers)

anorexic
is not a superlative of thin. Anorexia is an illness. Like schizophrenia, it should not be used as a cheap and lazy metaphor. Anyone who thinks of using a phrase such as “positively anorexic” should think again

amid
not amidst.
Things fall against a backdrop, not amid one. If something is amid the backdrop, it’s part of it, and thus completely unremarkable. Some cliches make the news sound tired; this one makes the news sound as if it’s not news at all

dangling participle

This particularly exotic dangling participle somehow found its way into the paper: “Though long-legged and possessing a lovely smile, gentleman journalists aren’t looking up her skirt and wouldn’t even if she weren’t gay…”

delivery
the arrival of a baby, letter or parcel; also widely found in such gruesome examples of marketing-speak as “delivering care” or “delivering quality and value”

digitalise
administer digitoxin (extracted from foxglove leaves) to treat heart conditions; digitise transcribe data into digital format

Useful to know.

An Excellent Word

December 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have thought about and used this concept many times but never had the pleasure of naming it:

zeugma
A figure of speech in which, typically, a single verb is used to yoke together two or more parts of a sentence with different meanings. Some examples:
“The queen takes counsel and tea” (Pope).
“Mr Pickwick took his hat and his leave” (Dickens).

When I Need a Quick Word Fix

December 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

When I can’t really be arsed to write, or I want to write but haven’t thought about what, I do little challenges. Most often that’s Slow Writing, which you may have seen from me before. Six sentences, each of which must contain a proper noun, a question, a semi-colon or any other GCSE English titbit. You can find my first foray with it here.

I also write poems from lists of found phrases; the magical, accidental positioning of words next to each other in Words on hellpoetry.com, for example. Sometimes the randomly generated strings of words are more beautiful than anything I could come up with alone, but combining them fills me with the resonating joy of loving curation.

When I was young, I had a set of magnetic words from Waterstones. They weren’t your usual nouns, verbs, funny words and punctuation. They were words like dream, shine, wonder. I used them to generate poems and here’s one from memory:

Shh!
Let the silent waters lap.
And the love of angels fly free.

Building with a set of words that are not your own is so oddly freeing; I’ve always found my creativity flies with restrictions. I’m sure some purists would say that poetry jigsawed together from crumbs of other people’s work is not poetry. But you know, no words are your own really.

I have always written poetry provoked by books. My earliest attempts (excluding the era that saw very down-to-earth poems about writing on bananas and washing paint down the sink) were inspired by – copied from – White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Stolen phrases from disparate chapters, stitched together into how I felt about the book’s SOUL.

The one I wrote the other day was about Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I found so incredibly affecting. That’s another thing I do: I write as someone else. That one, I’m pretty sure I was an old (male) guide who was showing British journalists around an abandoned compound after the Nigerian civil war in the 60s. The poem I wrote about the funeral, I was me but I was me if Phil had just died.

This is it: we don’t write as who we are, not usually. I always write with ‘What if?’ in my mind. These funny little writing exercises are the warm-ups and shake-downs I do when I need to stretch. They’re small and they’re quick; they make it so easy to imagine and not worry about how things will turn out.

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