Posts Tagged ‘Language’

Yesterday I went to London and had a meal and catch-up with my brother, who works in the City and does something clever with spreadsheets in the money-broking industry. And I do mean clever; he wrote the book, literally, on the subject, available at online bookstores near you.

After eating, we walked a bit. I am always amazed at the combinations of old and new in that part of London, and the sense one gets that – during the day at least – this is a space occupied by human beings, moving (not necessarily with a smile on their face), eating, coming and going, and drinking.  Above all drinking. There are lot of pubs and bars in the City of London, and their role in commerce is immense. So when my brother asked if I wanted to join him for a drink with a couple of former colleagues (actually one colleague and former client, which is how it works – you go drinking with clients) in a pub near Bank, I was curious to see what that was like.

Loud. That’s what City pubs are like. And male, with male conversations. It was interesting to witness, but I was not up to speed – and you’ve got to give as good as you get because the bar (pun intended) for repartee is set high. I think it is both a release for people who have been focused on screens and phones all day, and also a way of glueing friendships with insults.

Anyway, the point of this post – Following a sequence of interchanges and an anecdote so filthy that I could not possibly repeat it here, the idea came up to eliminate all adjectives from speech for a week. That’s a thought. Would it work? Would it change things? Make them better? Do we suffer from a surfeit of adjectives?

I do know that this is  tricky to do. I wrote this post without regard to adjective use, and then went back and tried to remove them all. There were more than I expected, or had noticed, and there are still several I couldn’t remove. It is, however, a discipline worth experimenting with.

Hemingway used adjectives sparingly and this added to rather than subtracted from his power as a writer. I wonder whether the reason for this is that our brains fill in those gaps with adjectives of their own.

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