Words speak volumes

Play a while

Read this extract and substitute other words for ‘got’ and its forms:

“I got on horseback within ten minutes after I got your letter. When I got to Canterbury, I got a chaise for town. But I got wet through before I got to Canterbury and I have got such a cold as I shall not be able to get rid of in a hurry. I got to the treasury about noon, but first of all I got shaved and dressed. I soon got into the work of getting a memorial before the board, but I could not get an answer.” (Aristarchus, 1789). How many could you manage?

Learn a little

The verbs that we use give away our level of proficiency. The many ‘gots’ in the passage above tell this story. Revising after writing is a lost art in the age of spell-check, but, if mastered, can yield great dividends. The above extract is a typical case in point and this kind of repetition reveals the language items a user can command with proficiency.

Intriguing words

Before the birth of the great TV match, football matches were relayed through radio commentaries in which listeners could follow the action by using a grid of numbered squares. ‘Back to square one’ emerged from this experience when a player had to begin at the beginning in the middle of a match. ‘Nine days’ wonder’ also has a similar interesting history. When puppies are born, they are blind until their eyes open on the ninth day after birth.

Precise usage

A ‘package’ is a small parcel, usually sent by post or by courier, such as ‘package of books’. A ‘packet’ is a big box, container or bag that contains a number of things or a fixed amount of some goods such as a ‘packet of cigarettes’. ‘Packaging’ refers to the material that is arranged around things in order to tempt people to buy them like the ‘fancy packaging of perfumes’. While ‘packing’ is the surrounding stuff around things, placed to protect them from damage, such as the straw around fruit.