This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Rough butter: a rant.

Look, I'm not prepared to shame a fellow writer, but You Know Who You Are.

Yes, you. The one who had a book published as a World Book Day freebie.

Yes, I know we're supposed to avoid cliches like smooth as butter because we've processed them so often they've beaten shortcuts through our brains: smooth as butter now just means smooth because the brain doesn't bother to imagine the butter any more.

So, look, if you'd changed smooth as butter to smooth as warm butter, or smooth as cold butter, then that would have been fine. A hair gel as smooth as warm butter...I can imagine that. A table with the sheen of cold butter...that's actually quite vivid.

But the version you used in your book, smooth as churned butter: good grief. For one thing all butter has been churned: I mean, if butter hasn't been churned it's still, well, cream. 

And, in any case, churned butter is quite knobbly.

Ah well. At least you've made me think, and you've also made me think of two rather useful similes: as smooth as cream and as knobbly as churned butter.

I suppose that's something.

Word To Use Today: churn. The Old English form of this word was ciern, which is related to the German dialect word Kern, which means cream.

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