America has an obsession. Okay, we have many obession’s, but in this case it is with the word “thing.” And as a journalist and writer, in recent years I have taken a dislike to the use of the word. It is over used and and misused. Part of that is simply due to the lack of descriptive words in the English language. However, part of it is due to the unimaginative use by its users.
There is no doubt that the English language has its faults and that we have a limited word range. Many languages have multiple words to describe an idea or an emotion.
For example, in the Greek, the word love has at least 4 different words that describe it.
So, what is it about the English language and its creators that determined one word was enough…what was their thought process and who decides what is a word and what isn’t?
I have always had the opinion and have declared it proudly that, as a writer and journalist, that if I make up a word, use it in my writing, and it seems to make relative sense, then that should be a word. However, I realize that this logic does not make sense for the general public, because, let’s face it, when given the opportunity to make choices and live without rules or boundaries, most of us can’t seem to make good decisions and we run a muck, messing up many ‘things”.
There is that pesky word…things.
Is there not a better word I could have used to describe what I was trying to say?
Sure, I could have said: life, job, family, opportunities, etc. The word “thing” gives a general description of a multitude of choices and allows the reader to choose what fits for them. Its a “choose your own adventure” to word meaning. The problem is that when the reader places meaning upon word choice, the author’s intent is lost. So, in this social, I want it now world of publish first, edit later, does the use of the word “thing” make more sense or less? Or have we simply become lazy and letting the reader choose removes the writers responsibility of conveying truth and accuracy? Does it leave them with a loop hole to opt out of staking a claim for something that may matter? Does the word “thing” give leniency when a definitive word would paint them into a corner?
What do you think about the word “thing”?