Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Penultimate Writing Prompt

OK, maybe not the penultimate. Although it might be if the world ends after my next prompt and then I would be correct in naming this the Penultimate Writing Prompt. I named it the Penultimate Writing Prompt because, well, I just wanted to use the word penultimate this week and couldn't fit it into my writing. So what is the purpose of all this? To bring up the concept of lesser used words. I love the word penultimate. It's a truly cool word. For those wondering what it means, I turn your attention to Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: pen·ul·ti·mate
Pronunciation: \pi-ˈnəl-tə-mət\
Function: adjective
Date: 1677
1 : next to the last

It's a much nicer way of saying, "the next to the last" don't you think? Wouldn't it be cool if you were the penultimate kid chosen for the basketball team rather than the next to the last kid chosen? (Of course that usually is better than the last kid chosen, isn't it?) Penultimate just sounds more regal, more accepting. There are so many other words that are just as wonderful.

So, here's your task for the week: Find five really good words that sum up an idea that would otherwise need an entire phrase to say. (Is there a word for that?) Use those five words to make a logical story. How can you use this idea to better your writing overall? Expand on it as you work this week and see if you can't find tired phrases and bring new life to them by using a single, better, word. (And much thanks goes to PoMoGoLightly for her inspiring this prompt idea in suggesting that I actually google a reverse dictionary.)

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