Under or Over…

Newsletter 026 – November 11th, 2022


Word Combinations: Actress Rosamund Pike, on the Graham Norton Show, wondered why “You can be underwhelmed, you can be overwhelmed, but you’re never just whelmed.” Writers constantly play with words. Some of the words they discussed on that British show, mostly in a funny sketch by stand-up comic Michael McIntyre were: Chit-chat, willy-nilly, nitty-gritty, hurly-burly, dilly-dally, wishy-washy, argy-bargy, fuddy-duddy, hodge-podge, and hanky-panky. They also wondered why someone can be referred to as being disheveled, but not just sheveled. Or described as being ruthless if they’re mean, but not as being ruth if they’re nice.

Shakespeare, as I pointed out in previous newsletter, completely rearranged the way we can use words, expanding the scope and usefulness of English in the process. There are so many possibilities to choose from. Why just use the word hate ten times in a paragraph when you also have words like loathe, detest, abhor, or despise to fulfill the same function and provide some variety. Or use words that express different levels of hatred to more accurately hone in on the character’s emotion, like: resent, detest, or irritate, etc. Most words in English have several synonyms, plus a variety of other words that are in the general ballpark, which is great for writers (or wonderful or superb or brilliant).

Check out the excerpt from the Graham Norton Show below. I’ll cut this short so I can get back to working on the novella I’m writing during NaNoWriMo.

The next newsletter will be about a potential cover reveal for next year’s reissue of my book, Jagged Man.

See you then,


[“A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.”
T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets. East Coker [1940].]


In this episode of The Graham Norton Show, comedian Michael McIntyre Tries Out New Material On Chris Martin and Rosamund Pike. Be forewarned, The Graham Norton Show is often quite irreverent, a bit naughty, and extremely funny.



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