Writer’s Block: Words that you love and hate

What are your favorite and least favorite words? Any reasons why?

What a fun little feature! Nice idea, LJ.

Anyway, my favorite word is vicarious because it is such a useful word. I remember learning it on some vocabulary list in high school and being struck with awe. What a fine word! It describes a complex yet familiar human concept and thus serves a fine purpose in the English language. I felt my vocabulary had truly been enriched after being introduced to this word.

My least favorite word is plethora because it is so misused. It is one of those words people use in essays for no other reason than to show that they know the word. There are many other words to successfully describe the concept you are really going for, but because some teacher in high school told you that you had to use vocabulary words because it’d make you sound smarter, you used plethora instead. I’m certainly guilty of that, and we can’t blame the youth. Still, having worked in a high school, when I hear a young student give a fine speech, and then destroy it by using the word “plethora,” it makes me sigh a little.

So there you go. Now, if someone can use “plethora” in a sentence or paragraph where it is necessary and pleasing and appropriate, I shall give them a prize. Linguists: go!

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