1. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Over using words

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Torana, Oct 2, 2007.

    Ok this applies to all areas of writing I feel.

    I have noticed that so many times people begin sentences with the words "like" - "and". It frustrates me. Not just begin with them though, but use them so much throughout their work it isn't funny.

    This happens especially with poetry I find. Like is a word that I see appear in so many poems it isn't funny. The word And appears at the beginning of a sentence in poetry so many times that I just can't bring myself to read a piece where that word appears in more than 3 times at the beginning of a sentence anymore.
    I just feel that there are far more interesting ways of beginning a sentence rather than placing AND there if it really isn't needed there.

    I want to know what the sun setting looks like. The scene, the image. Not be told that the sun sets like the slow drying cement. Describe the sun set without saying it looks like something else. Give it it's own image, it's own description. Give it its own life. The word like just infuriates me and makes a line seem cliche and trite to me now, even when it is used in my own poetry.

    There are so many other words that are so heavily over used now as well. Like crimson and damnation, illusion, the list goes on and on. But please I beg of everyone to try and reduse the number of times you use and at the beginning of a sentence and limit the amount of times you say like as well. It really does detract from your work in a major way.

    Ok that is my little rant over. Thank you for reading.

    Torana
     
  2. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    Im sure you'll find it very difficult to write a simile without using like. Then you'll complain because no one will be using simile's in their poetry.

    Contradictory.
     
  3. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah ok good points Frost. But have you seen how many poems have that word in it repeatadly. It is just something that I feel people should be aware of when they are writing their poetry and so forth. Yeah ok fair enough use the word. I know I do every so often. Just be careful how many times it is used in a poem when it really isn't needed and the line can be better said some other way.
     
  4. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    You said the same exact thing in your first post. That really irks me.

    Similes are supposed to help give us a better image of the picture we're describing. I do not understand why you hate them. Is it because you cannot form them, yourself?

    Also the sun drying like cement is the kind of simile to make your great-grandfather's bone rot. What is that? That's atrocious. Whoever wrote that simile needs a kick in the face.
     
  5. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was an example of what I was trying to get across. I can write similies but I choose not to write similies. I find that they are over used in poetry. It is a personal preference I guess.
    All I am saying is that people need to try and delve into something different instead of staying in the same loop holes time after time.
    I try my hardest never to use similies and the word like in a poem. It is a well over used thing an yes it can work well, but not when that is all that a poem is filled with. Just don't over use it.
    I changed my first post, sorry for the confusion there.
    I have used similies before in poetry and yeah it worked out really well. But I just see it way too often and find that most poets go back to smilie as it is easier than anything else.
    Similies are simple and effective, hence why 90% of poetry writers use them.
     
  6. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    I understand completely with what your saying, but again, there's one statement I have to disagree with. On principal.

    Thats because simile are a particularly important poetic device; it's hard to write metaphors without simile. As such, you have to avoid both to get rid of one, leaving you with a very boring bit of poetry.
     
  7. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are right there Frost. But it is also easy enough to avoid "over using" the word like in poetry as well.
     
  8. Funny Bunny
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    I definitely think you can over use metaphors and smilies. They are fairly powerful so you should try to use them only when it will lift the writing up. Some people simply omit the "like"

    For example:
    The new moon, a freshly minted coin, grew on the horizon


    Obviously the sentance is "The new moon grew in the horizon. I have added the second level to the statement which might in fact (If I am a serious writer) tell me about the situation, or the character's state of mind, or the plot. But, in reality, since the "like" is inferred by the fact that it is a simile, then it is technically still there due to the function of the phrase. If I put in a similie, "Like" will not go away. Ands are also infered by commas. Like, as, as if, are really reader-directions. It is assumed what follows will be a simile. (I am not talking about the valley girl "Like"). So I guess since metaphor is the highest level of writing, (similie is in that rank), I suppose if you want to get rid of "Like" you would be saying, "get rid of the best tool a poet or prose writer has."

    I do know that many And sentences have a somewhat Biblical Feel which in the case of a very Mythological poem or statement can be useful. It all depends. I like to use them with children and simple minded characters: My mom gave me a boat, and a balloon, and ice cream, and soda, and she took me to the mall, and she bought me a new dress, and new shoes, and then I went to grandma's house. Now this gives me a breathless sort of claustrophobic mental state. I could also use it for a muddy minded character: "He brought me to the boathouse and threw an oar at me and it hit me in the face and I saw stars and nearly fell into the water"

    So I guess I feel that in the right hands any thing goes really.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...no, it's not still a simile... it's a metaphor... 'like' is not inferred there, the moon is being dealt with as if it is a coin, not just 'like' one...

     
  10. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Torana's just mad wordwizard won the poetry contest, isn't she?

    Wordwizard knows have to craft similies like a pro.
     
  11. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    Thank you Eyezforyou.
    I have a found compliments from you hidden around the forum. Sweet suprises. It is appreciated.
     
  12. wordweaver
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    wordweaver Member

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    I guess similies are working for them then. ;)


    Isn't a poem a freedom of thought and expression? Not all styles turn everyone's crank, some like rhyme and rythm, while some prefer flair and prose. Heck, some even pass a mash of incoherent thoughts, and words as a poem. But really, who is to say which is better?

    I agree with the above posters, similies are a major staple in poetry writing.
    I understand that it's a peeve, but honestly I don't think you're are going to be able to get away from it anytime soon. Similies have been used for ages, and I don't think they are going to disappear... especially in poetic form. Sorry, but I think they're here to stay. :p
     
  13. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    That's why I am not an English teacher. When anyone brings up metaphor, I group everything "like" a metaphor under it.
     
  14. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    I just want to point out one thing, I was always told a metaphor was far stronger then a simlie I believe the person who taught me this is right. The sun was like a blood spattered canvas. Doesn't hold the same impact. Of the sun painted a spattered canvas. I'm sure a few of you could come up with better, I'm merely pointing out most poets would go for a metaphor over a simlie.
     
  15. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    I think we are all taught at some stage that it's good to use like in our work when we are describing something. The thing is, the more we improve, I think the word Like and and probably don't get used as much. There are plenty of ways to describe something without mentioning Like but however, it sometimes is needed. But as long as we all improve in our work, I cannot see why Like and And should be excluded from all poetry.. unless the person is advanced. In that case, its best to help people think of other descriptive words.

    ~Doz
     
  16. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    A good poet maybe. A great poet though would use both when appropriate.
     
  17. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not saying don't use them in your writing, just be careful how you utilise them really. So I apologise for me sounding as though I was saying not to.
    It is just that when you come across a stanza in a poem that has and beginning a sentence more than once or it appears in almost every stanza of a poem it begins to detract from the quality of the piece.

    For example;

    The moon hangs high above me
    and moon beams shine through my window
    the stars the twinkle in the velvet night sky
    and glisten in my eyes.

    The moon hangs high above me
    moon beams shine through my window
    the star twinkle in the velvet night sky
    glistening in my eyes.

    I think that the stanza although it is not a very good stanza at all, does sound better without the usage of and at the beginning of the sentences. I see this happening all the time. I just find that in poetry and is used quite frequently to begin a sentence where if it were removed and puncuation was put in it's place or another word, it helps to inprove the flow of a stanza and it becomes less wordy and removes an unessecary word.
    If people think I am wrong well that is their opinion.

    Also the word like, is another word I feel is grosely over used. I know that it is a poetic tool and can be used to really intesify the quality of a piece, but as Nadala has stated, metaphors are far more impressive and create a whole better image.

    At the end of the day it is the writers choice what they do and don't want to put into a poem. I am just simply stating that these two words are over used in so much poetry these days and there are ways to avoid this from happening. If people can't see that I am simply trying to show that then it is their choice.

    I am a member on many forums and have found this exact same arguement on them about the usage of and and like in poetry and the over usage of the two words. So this post was created to have a discussion about people opinions on this matter and I am glad that I have created this thread and started a discussion on this matter. If I am to be flammed for my thoughts and the same thoughts that other writers I know have then so be it. But at least now you are all aware of it you can do with this thought what you will.
     
  18. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    Yes note the word appropriate. Not always
     
  19. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    I think it's all about context. Some people that are new to poetry do use like and and. (@.@) I think if they are obviously new, help them to build up their vocabulary and help them to develop their poetry instead of goign DON'T USE THAT WORD! but I'm glad you cleared tha tup Torana though.
     
  20. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah sorry for the earlier confusion. I am just trying to bring a writing issue to the attention of the writers here. Now that I have it is your decisions what to do with it. Ignore it altogether if you like, it bothers me not.

    It is just fabulous to see so many people have come and joined in on this discussion. It is always good to see so many people giving their own opinions.
     

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