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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Very very annoying: a rant.

 I write for a range of ages from about two years old right up to...well, you. 

(Mind you, you're looking tremendously vigorous and youthful, and I'm sure that you yourself can't be a day over thirty. But, honestly, some of the others round here look like Methuselah's Great-Aunt.)

Anyway, because I write for a range of ages, and because I have a silly comic streak that runs through all the exquisite poetry and philosophical insight (ahem!) I need to write in a range of styles. This means that I have been criticised for my use of short sentences, as well as slammed for my use of long ones.

No, I can't win.

All the same, I've always felt free to fit my style to suit my audience. There are, naturally, limits, but I rather enjoy those: even the insane sensibilities of modern publishing (eg, for educational texts, no longer being able to describe a stupid person as stupid because that might upset stupid people) are rather fun to dance round.

But now there's a new tyranny in town which marks my every sentence for...actually, I'm not sure for what, but it's jolly free with the red and blue ink if it disapproves. I refer, of course to the industry-standard word-processing software called WORD. 

Spell-check is certainly useful (although WORD can't always spell, and is annoyingly opinionated) but WORD has now started objecting to all sorts of other stuff. Quite frankly, it's getting above itself.

I've just finished writing a book featuring the Old Old Dragon of Dragon Mountain. But WORD hates repeated words and it has a fit every time I speak of the poor old old beast. It even hates very very - and the mere sight of a do do (if you do do a belly-flop it is going to hurt) gives it the vapours.

WORD also hates sentences beginning with So - and the merrily relaxed attitude of John Clare and e e cummings to punctuation have it absolutely steaming.

Now, I resist WORD as much as I can, but I can feel the thing chipping away at my sense of freedom to experiment. I can feel it bending my style.

Will we all end up writing like American business-men? 

I'm fighting the bully because I'm quite...um...experienced, and I'm quite awkward, and I feel it's my job to experiment.

But what will happen to the young?

Word To Use Today: two the same, one after the other. It will really really really annoy WORD.





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