1. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    What is this technique called?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MatrixGravity, Jun 10, 2011.

    I noticed some people can connect two 'advanced' words together and make something sound way better. For example,

    "Systematically Dismantle"
    "Notoriously Inaccurate"

    See? What kinda technique is this? Thanks.
     
  2. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Overwhelmingly preposterous.
     
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  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's not a "technique" and those aren't "advanced" words. Sure, they're long, but not advanced. It's just adverbs modifying verbs or adjectives. Standard stuff. I use that kind of construction pretty much only for humor. I wouldn't normally describe something as "preposterously grandiose", for example, but I would if I were making a joke. Your examples are preposterously grandiose.

    You don't seem to be a very experienced writer, so if I were you, I'd stay away from constructions like those.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    This technique is called "describing" or "using adverbs". There's a few sayings to do with adverbs, actually, and some advice also.
    First, the advice. From The Elements of Style: do not construct awkward adverbs. Also, from whoever is sane enough to say so: don't use adverbs too often. They are not necessary. Use them sparingly.

    Second, the sayings. By Stephen King: "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." By Mark Twain: "I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me."

    That's just a couple of examples. Adverbs are not your friends.

    I love you.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let's be nice. Everyone has been a beginner.
     
  6. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Exactly, Palahniuk said to do away with adverbs, as they make your writing style one of telling, and not showing, and will make your characters appear flat and uninteresting as they have not been 'unpacked'.

    For instance, "John was walking awkwardly."
    vs
    "John was walking with his hands deep in his pockets, taking careful steps and not looking anyone in the eye."

    See how the second example gives a character more texture.
     
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  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except that the second construct allows a more vague description. "Awkwardly" allows the reader to visualise what they think of as awkward. The second example thrusts the visualisation onto the reader and, to me, does not resemble an awkward walk. It resembles a cautious walk. Perhaps it might even be graceful but shy. That's not awkward, though.

    I refer now to William Strunk's (very likely greatest) piece of advice, "Omit needless words." As in, "make every word count."

    If you can get a better, more clear image across with an adverb, go for it, but if it's just going to sound crap, describe it normally. (<-- 'normally' gives you a clear picture of what I'm on about)
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You want to be careful with sticking two giant words together. It can have the effect of sounding like a long-winded bureaucrat.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Breviloquently intercommunicated, Mallory :)
     
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  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ Hehehe. Thanks. :)

    Really though, to Matrix, it's something to avoid in writing. Readers will lose touch if there's a ton of words they don't understand and the level is way over their head.

    The best works of literature, in my opinion, are the ones written at a level readable to any reasonable person: but the depth comes from things like themes, symbolism, impact, etc.
     
  11. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I may not have given the best example, but even so, you will find that relying on adverbs to create a picture of what is going on will make the narrative flat and uninteresting...
     
  12. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Agreed.
     
  13. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Remember that when you put an adverb before a verb it's a split infinitive. The most famous version being, 'to boldly go' (like from StarTrek).


    There are both compound or singular varieties of this, you can check the OED for more information on this:http://http://oxforddictionaries.com/page/grammartipsplitinfinitive

    Some people think it's a big no, but just read it out loud and make a decision for yourself.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Is it simply the result of fleeting intermittent impressions of one neophyte scribe in his nascent maturity, or does there appear to be an immutable and occasionally chafing homogeneity to the queries periodically posed by our esteemed colleague, here, with their persistent umbra of dubiety mixed with innoxiousness?
     
  15. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Sigh guys.. I believe I have said this before but I am not trying to be a book writer, or a story-teller. I don't plan on using any of this for any sort of material. It's not really for anything, I just have the desire to learn these things for no certain purpose. Just want to clarify once again. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Matrix:
    Why are you on a writing forum and not on a "language-forum?" I think there are those out there too. Don't misunderstand me, Im not saying I don't want you here, because I do, I like reading your posts, but maybe you would have the kind of answers you are looking for somewhere where they deal with these questions regarding the use of the language? I can't post links but I came across a forum like that just today by googling an expression to find out what that meant in english.
    You will have to excuse us if we always seem to put your questions in a writers perspective, it's just the way we are :rolleyes:

    Wow! That was a fantastic thing to say! (And to read :p I love it!!)
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    matrix...

    you've gotten plenty of good advice and explanation here...

    but i'm curious as to why you capitalized all those words... that would be a no-no if they're in the middle of a sentence... and only the first one would have a capital if it starts a sentence...
     
  18. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess one's perception of what constitutes 'advanced' or 'giant' words depends almost solely on the depth and breadth of their vocabulary.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    In fact, generalize this: don't do anything too often. "Too" means it's excessive.
    The writer found one necessary there: "sparingly".
     

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