Friday, 29 November 2013

Isn't it lovely...

This post is dedicated to Anne Wareham (Twitter: @AnneWareham). Tongue most definitely in cheek. Well, almost. :-p

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The other day, Anne Wareham asked on Twitter "Would twitter survive a ban on the word 'lovely'?". My response was: Noooooooooooooo.

Lovely is used to describe a lot of gardens. At lot of the time. And I believe Anne feels it is used rather too much and that it has become ubiquitous with nice. Something you say when you haven't bothered to either give it more thought or because you don't want to offend anyone. You say: you have a lovely (nice) garden. You think: that was a boring garden.

I hold up my hands to the fact I do use the word lovely a lot. Hence my Noooooooooooooo in response to Anne's question. To me it conveys a sense of warmth and gentle pleasure. But I do see that it can be a by-word for nice and that I could be a bit more creative with my descriptions of the gardens I visit.

A few years ago I worked as Assistant Editor for Gender & Development Journal. This included both editing submissions and researching and writing articles myself. At this time, my best friend was my Thesaurus and I always had it just near my keyboard. I was forever using it to try and expand the ways in which something might be expressed, often finding a better word that the initial one I wrote. It made for better writing and was fun too; sometimes I would go off on tangents exploring words and getting ideas for more creative ways of conveying meaning within a sentence.

With that in mind, I've decided to take Anne up on her challenge to "try and find better ways of putting it". It being the word lovely. So to start this enterprise, I thought I would list here all the words I found under the entry lovely in my thesaurus:

LOVELY (adjective)
beautiful     pretty     as pretty as a picture     attractive     good looking     appealing     handsome     adorable     exquisite     sweet     personable     charming     enchanting     engaging     bewitching     winsome     seductive     gorgeous     alluring     ravishing     glamorous     bonny     tasty     knockout     stunning     smashing     drop-dead gorgeous     fit     cute     foxy     beauteous     comely     fair     sightly     pulchritudinous     scenic     picturesque     pleasing     easy on the eye     magnificent     stunning     splendid     delightful     very pleasant     very nice     very agreeable     marvellous     wonderful     sublime     superb     fine
magical     enchanting     captivating     terrific     fabulous     fab     heavenly     divine     amazing     glorious

From each of these words you can go off on tangents to find other related and perhaps more suitable words to convey the word lovely when describing a garden. Sadly pulchritudinous* doesn't have it's own entry in my thesaurus.

The lovely enchanting Orchard Plats at Bryan's Ground

I'm looking forward to visiting a drop-dead gorgeous and a foxy garden. Mmmmm, some derivations of lovely might not be so appropriate...

*Look out for this word appearing in a post**, but don't ask me to pronounce it!
**That is, if I visit a garden that can indeed be described as pulchritudinous.

3 comments:

  1. Heh heh. Nice!

    In spite of having a bad reputation, nice is not a bad word. It has some subtle aspects - see Oxford Dictionary : Nice (2).- (especially of a difference) slight or subtle:there is a nice distinction between self-sacrifice and martyrdom
    & - requiring careful consideration:a nice point.

    Bit richer than lovely, perhaps, and worth reconsideration? And, of course, if everyone tried 'nice' whenever they were about to say 'lovely' they'd be confronted with how banal they are being...

    But what I like best about you taking me slightly (!) seriously is that describing a garden without 'lovely' will require more reflection and attempt at accuracy? Can't be bad.

    Now foxy... we can do foxy! Especially after the fox has been round...

    Xxx

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  2. Liked this a lot. I am also guilty of over use. Laughing at Annes post because looking at the list I did wonder if she would like to be described as foxy...

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