1. MatrixGravity
    Offline

    MatrixGravity Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    New York

    Please assist me with learning these words.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MatrixGravity, Mar 14, 2011.

    So i've been studying some new wordplay lately, and I can't seem to really fully grasp these terms..

    "There are a plethora of children at the mall."

    "There are myriads of children gathering at our local mall."

    Am I using Plethora/Myriad correctly??

    "I don't have any time to listen to you spew your convoluted nonsense."
    I'm trying to substitute "stupid nonsense" for "convoluted nonsense."

    I'm guessing im using it slightly out of context? What word would you rather use in this situation?

    Next word is... Adverse. "Smoking weed can cause adverse effects to your body."
    Why do people put the word adverse next to effects all the time?


    Also what does it mean to patronize somebody? There are so many complex words floating around that I can't seem to fully understand all of them!!
    Thank you for your help.!
     
  2. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    You don't seem to be able to decide whether "plethora" is singular or plural ("are a"?) I'd go for singular: "There is a plethora of children at the mall." Note that "plethora" means an excess, not just a lot, but maybe you think there are too many children at the mall in which case the sentence (as corrected) is fine.
    Again a possible problem with number. "Myriad" in common use means a great many, so there's no need for the plural: "There is a myriad of children gathering at our local mall." You do see "myriads" used as you have, though, and you can get away with it. Probably because "myriad" still sometimes retains its earlier meaning of "ten thousand", so it would just be hyperbole, like saying there are millions of kids there.
    I'm not sure what you are trying to do here. "Convoluted" doesn't mean the same as "stupid". In the sense you are using it, convoluted means complicated; the person spewing the nonsense is trying to fool the speaker with complexity, so it's actually rather clever nonsense rather than the easier-to-spot stupid nonsense.
    I'd prefer "on" to "to", but that's basically ok. "Adverse" and "effects" go together a lot because it saves the writer having to think about the details. They don't have to go together: "The patient had an adverse reaction to the treatment". And effects can be good rather than adverse!
    Originally it meant to be a patron to them: to provide them with money and other support. You might still see that use. Nowadays, though, it usually means to treat them as if they need support that they don't actually need. To treat them in a way that is probably meant to be good but that actually makes them seem or feel childish, weak, incompetent or some such.
    "I'd better explain this to you because you're a girl..."
    "Don't patronise me; I do have a degree in astrophysics, you know!"​
    (By the way, I'm British which is why I spell it "patronise".)
    I doubt there's anybody who understands all the words in the English language. Keep working at it, and enjoy the fact that there's always more to do rather than worrying about it.
     
  3. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Online dictionaries are your friends. There's even some that explain the history/origin of a word, how it was used in the past and how it's used today. If you're in the smallest doubt about the definition of a word, look it up. It's always worth your time.
     
  4. Ion
    Offline

    Ion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    7
    dictionary.com. Use it.

    These are all words that you see fairly often, so it's good that you're trying to master them. However, I think it's more helpful to look at how other people use them in sentences before you try to use them yourself. If you use a complicated word that's more complex than a simple word but doesn't really express the correct thought, your audience will lose confidence in you very quickly.

    If you are unsure of whether or not you're using a word correctly, don't use it.
     
  5. Arathald
    Offline

    Arathald Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Seattle
    You have to be careful with these words, as even native speakers have a hard time using them correctly in some contexts. "Plethora" and especially "myriad" are used more in older texts, so, unless you're purposely trying to draw a comparison between the children, and, say, an army, these usages don't feel natural to me. They feel very contrived (i.e. like the sentence was constructed just to find a way to use the word) -- it's perfectly ok for examples, but you should stay away from that in your writing.

    This sounds weird to me for two reasons. As digitig said, "on your body" sounds better. The other point is that it's more natural to say "have adverse effects" than "cause adverse effects" -- "Smoking weed can have adverse effects on your body" sounds much more natural.
     
  6. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    since 'myriad' means 'countless' or 'numberless' adding 'of' to it makes no sense...
     
  7. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    It also means "an unspecified large number" in which case the "of" is mandatory, and "ten thousand" in which case "of" is redundant in the singular and mandatory in the plural.

    Normal usage seems to be with "of".
     
  8. MatrixGravity
    Offline

    MatrixGravity Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys.. I figure using the word Plethora wouldn't be very appropriate when describing a cluster of people. I think it's more suitable if you're trying to describe maybe.. a book.

    "This book contains a plethora of information surrounding the rumored disappearances of the two children that were abandoned by their mother."

    That sounds more appropriate don't you agree? Also I have tried to refer to online dictionarys for trying to learn a word, but they don't really explain it too well. Are there any websites where I can look up a certain word and see how it's used within a sentence? It'd be much easier for me that way. I have trouble learning things on my own.
     
  9. Northern Phil
    Offline

    Northern Phil Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    To be honest I wouldn't use either as they aren't using descriptive langauge and it doesn't describe that scene. They are also failry posh words which the average man would not understand. This is what I would put;

    "What should have been a warm and lovely Saturday afternoon turned into a nightmare. It was my girlfriends birthday tomorrow and I had forgotten to buy her a present; the only reason I'd remembered was because she had phoned me to remind me to pick up the beer for her party. I had to navigate through the plethora of children who had gathered at the mall, at times it felt like they were being thrown in my direction from a kid throwing pinball machine and of course the jewrelly shop had to be located close to toy shops and music stores."

    Even if I did not know what the word Plethora meant, because I've put it into a much larger piece of descriptive langauge my mind will automatically assume that Plethora means many or a group or a large amount.

    It depends on what sort of context your trying to use this phrase in. When you read it with the rest of the paragraph you have to make sure that it flows smoothly.

    Adverse basically means harmful.
     
  10. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Remember that it means "too much", not "a lot", so you would be saying "This book contains too much information surrounding the rumored disappearances of the two children that were abandoned by their mother."

    You could always try simply searching for the word itself, which will show you how it is used in practice (but not whether those uses are "right"!)

    Do that with "plethora" and you find that almost all the high-ranking hits are for definitions of the word, with a few being for a specialised medical use and most of the rest being in relation to one particular legal trial. That suggests to me that the best way to use the word is not to use it at all.
     
  11. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    I use the dictionary alot.

    But the discussion on the subjects seem to help me understand it better.
    Probably because the examples relate better then a generic example.
    and also people are focusing on one or two words rather then endless amount of words to define and explain.

    I would suggest everyone look up the words first, then if still not sure, bring it here.
     

Share This Page