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  1. #1
    karusel is offline Newbie
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    Default omitting "very", expanding vocabulary

    I've been an avid learner of English for a long time, and I'm again and again surprised when I hear or read a new word and I think I have pinpointed one of the main groups of words that are unknown to me. What lead me there is this quote:

    “So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
    N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

    Exhausted is obviously a common word, morose, on the other hand, not at all. Recently I recall John Stewart calling his audience "vociferous". Where do I find more of those rare, yet obviously common words that everyone seems to understand?


    Also, the problem I'm having with this, personally is it's impossible for me, as a non-native speaker, to tell the comparative level of those words; for instance is 'very sad' exactly like 'morose'? Is 'extremely sad' more sad than 'miserable'? Is 'morose' on the same level as 'gloomy' or 'dismal'? Not to mention that reading the list of synonyms for 'morose' I perfectly realize that those words all have a slightly different meaning, and various levels of sadness, but for most of them I could pretty much use one in a sentence and cross my fingers that it fits.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: omitting "very", expanding vocabulary

    The only way to tell whether 'dismal', 'gloomy' or 'morose' is the correct word if a dictionary doesn't help, is either through experience or through asking a native speaker. Obviously you can't do the latter on all occasions.

    You ask where to find these words. You can find 'morose' in a thesaurus, under 'sad'. Then, you must check a dictionary for 'morose'.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: omitting "very", expanding vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by karusel View Post
    I'A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
    Unless you take the words I have underlined seriously, you can ignore the other words. 'Very tired' and 'exhausted do not carry the same meaning, and you can be very sad without being morose.

    Do read widely, use dictionaries and thesauruses, discuss meanings with native speakers and ask questions in this forum in an atempt to broaden your vocabulary, but try to avoid sounding pompous.

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