Wonderful Words – Elegant and Eloquent

Writers Love Words

By Annette Rey

Believe it or not, elegant and eloquent can be incorrectly used. They are similar in sound, each have three syllables, they both start with e and both end in t. I sympathize with people trying to learn English. Though these words have a completely different meaning, to the untrained ear, the delicate nuance between them can be missed. The sad thing I find, some whose primary language is English misuse these words.

Here is a simple reminder.

From Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary

Elegant – of a high grade or quality, splendid.

Eloquent – marked by forceful and fluent expression, vividly or movingly expressive or revealing.

The queen, dressed in an elegant manner, gave an eloquent speech.

The eloquent World War II monument had a profound effect on the spectators.

Elegant gems studded her dress.

As writers, we owe it to ourselves and our readers to respect the language and to do our best with our construction of stories. You should realize that as you write your creations, you are in the role of teacher as it relates to language usage. Why are some stories unforgettable? It doesn’t all depend on plot, characters, and outcome. Even the uneducated respond to well-written words. The readers may not be able to express the reason why a story grips them. They may not be aware, but the magical symphony of a series of words is somehow innate in our human psyches to appreciate.

The journey to writing well begins with intimately knowing each word, like a close friend. Don’t ever think any article or flash fiction is too small to give acute attention to the next word and how each word articulates with one another.

It’s important to not become over-confident. Write with your flow, but as you proofread, use your dictionary. You may be surprised at how you misused a word. And you will be grateful you corrected your work. Make the extra effort. Both you and your reader will benefit.

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