Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Horribleness Must End!!!

You know, I just realized the part of the English language (a language I love) that I really, truly hate:

Words with 3+ syllables that end in "-ness."

Basically, that's the liposuction of English; that is, where all the lazy people turn to. If you have an adjective with no appropriate noun, you have a choice. You can either be creative and formulate a beautiful, clever noun, or you can tack on a "-ness" to the end of it.

Some examples:
"Vivacious" becomes the tongue-twisting vivaciousness.
"Garrulous" (something I've been accused of being) becomes the horrible garrulousness.
"Horrible" becomes the completely juvenile horribleness.
Similarly, "terrible" becomes the equally ear-aching terribleness.
If you need another synonym for the last two words, try "awful." It becomes awfulness.
In my last example, "hopeless" becomes hopelessness. In doing so, I feel it loses most of its impact.

There, that's just a sampling of the verbal vomit that the suffix "-ness" comprises. Look them up, they're all real! I wish I could say that I made them up.

"But Andrew," you say, "despite your keen intelligence and handsome face, you're just complaining. Do you have any better ideas for these words?"

As a matter of fact, Victor von Killsport, I do!

The best way to start is with "vivacious." As it turns out, vivaciousness has a much more elegant, pleasing synonym. Vivacity. It means the exact same thing, but does a hell of a better job doing so. What's the key? It's the "-ity," of course. That suffix is much more pleasant to the ear, and it changes the whole pronunciation of the word, making you sound more like a scholar of Oxford than of NASCAR.

What if we performed this same grammatical surgery for the rest of the words. Think of how much better things would sound. And before you simply say "pish-posh" to these, consider the fact that you're used to you beloved "-ness" words, hearing them for all you life. That said, take a gander:

"Garrulous" --- garrulity. (Upon further research [i.e. the fact that my spell-checker didn't underline this] I happily discovered that "garrulity" is indeed a word.)
"Horrible" --- horriblity.
"Terrible" --- terriblity.
"Awful" --- awfulity.
And "hopeless"? Well, "hopeless" becomes despair.

You see? Isn't that better? Sometimes I feel its my mission in life to...well, not to reinvent the English language, but to make a few slight nudges here and there. You'll probably hear more of my ideas later.

Oh, and just to sate your curiosity, why did I specify that the words I hated were over 3 syllables long? Simple. There's a two-syllable "-ness" word that I love.



miguel said...

"that's the liposuction of English," great line. A work of supreme fabulousness.

Unknown said...

I haded done good in English in such a long time. so, Basically, I don't know what you're saying. catch 22 ya later.
Zip it UP!
and Zip it OUT!