Choose your words carefully part 2

rogersgeorge on October 29th, 2011

If you haven’t already done so, read the previous post.

Here’s a professionally-written article on a scientific subject. The article is about house flies spreading germs. I’m not going to say the writer is wrong; I’m pointing out that you have a choice when it comes to picking what word to use, and your choice affects the tone of what you write. The farther from the literal truth, the more, well, poetic. Another reason I chose to comment on this article is that it begins with a poem by my favorite Chinese poet,¬†Kobayashi Issa. Here’s some of the first paragraph:

Each day, in each country, a housefly is born. Lots of houseflies really. Houseflies have been being born around us for thousands of years. They are born of what everyone else abandons, corpses, cakes, and excrement.

I considered showing a picture of a house with wings and calling it a metaphorical house fly

Within four sentences, the writer uses “born” three times referring to flies hatching. The whole first paragraph of this Scientific American article about flies spreading contagion is full of¬†imagery. I think maybe, perhaps, the use of “born” instead of “hatched” fits rather well, even in an article that later gives the scientific name of antibiotic-resistant fecal bacteria, especially if you read the entire article. What do you think?

Who was on the other side of Castor’s wall? A rooster. He was hatched.


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