We all talk about writers' tools: strong verbs, few adverbs, concise adjectives, descriptive nouns... you get the idea. We spend enormous amounts of time and effort learning and studying the best ways to construct compelling stories out of the building blocks we've been given, namely, the words in the English language.
But have you ever stopped and really taken a look at just how confusing, random, and--well, just bizarre the English language can be? In some cases, it's just downright self-contradicting. And that can make life really hard for us writers! Here are some of my most 'favorite' examples.
~You can act 'nonchalant,' but you can't act 'chalant'.
~You may need to 'recuperate' after an illness... but when did you 'cuperate' in the first place?
~The word 'colonel'. And 'rendezvous'.
~'Noisy' means making lots of noise. 'Noisome' means irritating.
It's a wonder we even manage to learn to read, much less master the beast that is the English language enough to create a great story full of subtlety and subtexting and all those great and high arts of craft.
What are some of the English anomalies that give you trouble, make you laugh, or just leave you scratching your head?