Monday, April 13, 2009

Words that Trip me Up. HELP!


Don't you just hate it when you're writing is sailing so smoothly, then the mast gets ripped right out of the boat because a word trips you up. You can't for the life of you figure out how to spell it.

First, you use the online dictionary, but the word is either slang that hasn't made it into the dictionary yet, or it's more of a sound, and again, it's not there to be referenced. Or, worse, your spelling is so horrendously off that the dictionary has no clue what to retrieve for help.

Then, if you're like me, you use a life line. My life line is hubby. He enjoys receiving these writerly calls to break up the monotony of his actuarial, math encompassing, work day. In fact, he often encourages me in the morning. "So, Bun, will I receive a call today? You know, for a word or phrase for your story?" He asks with bright eyes curled slightly up in anticipation.

I truly am blessed that he likes to be a part of this writing journey of mine. It shouldn't really surprise me, though. He always had to put a stitch or two in my cross stitch pieces and knitting projects, too, just so he could proudly say "He helped" to whoever the recipient of the project may be.

But, hubby is a busy man during the work day, and often in meetings, so my call goes unanswered immediately, and I'm an impatient writer, so I give up on my word choice, the perfect fit, since I can't spell it, and substitute for something less than perfect. Sigh. Hate it when that happens.

I really wish there was a dictionary for odd words, sounds, etc. You know, the ones that trip me up. (If anyone knows of one, please do share. I'll be ordering it pronto!)

So here's a start to some of the words I've struggled (or still struggling) to master:

Deja Vu -- When the past eerily comes back to you.

Yeah -- Okay, I'm sure this has been used incorrectly in books. This, I believe, is supposed to be used in place of Yes, however, some seem to use it instead of my next word, which really trips me up.

Yay -- An excited cheer.

Cinch -- Why does 'C' sometimes sound like an 'S'?

Berserk -- Somehow I never pronounce the first 'R', and that first 'e' comes out as a soft 'a' to me.

Foyer -- Okay, how do you get 'er' from something that sounds like 'yay'?

I have tons more, but, of course, when I want to make note of them, they evade me like the plague. So, help me out, what words would you include in a TRIP-ME-UP dictionary for writers of limited vocabulary?


Surrendering to Him,


Eileen

14 comments:

Jeannie Campbell said...

hey eileen! thanks for your email. i've got words that trip me up, too. like goosebumps (Goosebumps goose bumps? goose bumpy? i've seen all of the above), TV (or tv? television? who says television anymore?)? of course, there are more...but they elude me, too. i'm notorious for asking my husband off-the-wall questions, as well. like i asked him the other night what the thing was that held up a bike (kickstand) or what the thing was you plug electrical cords into (outlet). these words just EVADED me. so weird. the other thing that trips me up is when i need to express something with a metaphor or use a different expression from a cliche and just come up with nada. just my ramblings...

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Jeannie, you are me or I'm you. I ask those same type of questions of my hubby all the time, too. I mean, where do our brains go, I wonder. It's like they go on hiatus at just the wrong time.

Jessica said...

LOL I use my hubby too, to find a different word because I'm using the same one too often.
Spelling itself doesn't usually trip me up, but one word that annoys me is knick knacks. According to my dictionary it can be spelled separately or together! How irritating is that! Why couldn't someone pick ONE way? LOL Now I always have to make sure I'm spelling it the same.

T. Anne said...

I'm forever using spell check, the online dictionary, wikipedia, it never ends... LOL

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Eileen,
I have the problem of trying not to use modern words. In my current MS I'm trying not to measure anything in miles and inches, trying to use Saints Days in place of calendar days. I need a "what not to use in historical fiction" dictionary!

Terri Tiffany said...

Foyer sounds like foyah?? Are you from Boston:)) lol Email me if you ever get stuck!! Loved this post!

sherrinda said...

Let's not talk about words...I wanna know how you got your nickname Bun!!!!!! :) Come on...you can tell....!!!!!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jessica, on that knick knack quandry. What's with the silent K? At least I can remember that, but that is weird that it can either be one word or two distinct. Our english language is so strange!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

T. Anne: I don't know that I'd be writing still if those online helps weren't so easily accessible. I REALLY over use them big time, too!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jody, that's a really interesting take. I knew there was a lot of research needed to depict the historical time correctly in all aspects, but hadn't really thought of the language part of it before. But you are so right. I bet Stephenie Meyer had do extensive study on that for Edward and his family, too, including the language of where they grew up.

There must be some references for language in the eras out there. Anyone know of some?

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, it's worse. I'm a Southern Ontario girl--Canadian. But, seriously, look foyer up in the dictionary and you'll see it's supposed to be pronounced foyay, and I believe that's globally.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Sherrinda, you WOULD pick up on that slip, wouldn't you!!! LOL

Actually, I'm not too sure how hubby came up with Bunny for me, Bun for short. It was well before we discovered that the two us had no problem reproducing, I promise. Perhaps it's because I had pet bunnies as a child. I'll have to ask him if he remembers when he gets home tonight. If he does, I may or may not let you know depending...

Georgiana said...

Bun, how cute!

I have problem words too, and it usually involves switching e's with a's. (competent, or any word that potentially ends in -ent or -ant.) I'm so thankful for spell check, truly a writer's best friend....

sherrinda said...

I couldn't resist asking, Jessica! Makes for an interesting conversation, of course, my mind never even picked up on Bunny Rabbits! ;)