Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Nonwords. They crack me up. It also cracks me up that people will debate with you that they are real words. Words like irregardless, annoyment and orientated. These are nonwords. I heard someone use the term “conversated” the other day. Not a word, people. Debone. Unravel. Nonword, nonword. Why use these when there are so many real words?

I love words. They are my favorite connection to other people. I can use them to explain, to describe, to entertain, to warn, remind, or argue. And define. I love to search for just the right word, with the perfect nuance of meaning, to insure that I portray exactly what I want another person to feel or believe. Wanting to be understood compels me to carefully choose from the 40,000 or so words that I am told make up the average American’s vocabulary.

The use of words is part and parcel to being human. The spoken word predates any other kind of communication by thousands of years. Before there was a book, or a painted canvas, words conveyed what someone else saw or heard or knew. Try to think of what the world would be like without words. It’s unimaginable. Even those who are unable to speak, use sign language “words”.

Words are all around us. They bombard us from television screens and radios. In restaurants, movie theaters, in the work place, on the street corner, everywhere, it seems like everyone is hurling some of those 40,000 words at you. For all kinds of reasons. Some are beneficial to us. They are meant to inform or help. Some are hurtful. They criticize or denigrate or mock. Some are neither, they’re just extraneous noise.

About now, you’re probably thinking, yeah, yeah. I get it. There are a lot of words in the world. What’s my point? It is this: Words are powerful and words are important. Words do not just define other words. How I use words can define me. My use of words can tell people much about me and my preferences, my outlook, my character. What I say can let people know how much they have affected my life. How much I appreciate, admire and love them. Or I can use words to hide all of that. I can hide that you have been instrumental in making me a better person. I can mask that I wouldn’t have made it without your friendship. I can conceal that you mean an awful lot to me.

What have you not said that you need to say? What words do you use to hide that you are hurting, or confused, or sad? Let’s choose the right words. Let’s say what needs to be said today because today counts.