Words and Phrasing

As an activity in my English class, we had to critically look at our writing and identify some places where our writing is weak. It wasn’t hard to identify my main problems–revision (or lack thereof) and long and confusing sentences (they’re really only too long and confusing to other people; in reality they’re just fine). But I’ve been pondering some other writing habits that I have as well.

I’ve been reading scriptures or had them read to me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. And my church doesn’t use any recent translations utilizing modern language–it’s the King James version of the Bible and other LDS scripture that also uses language similar to 17th century English. As a result of this, I often hear myself using words and phrases that are totally out of context with modern speech.

“I’ve been an unwise and foolish servant.” (Or, we’re eating mac and cheese for dinner tonight because I didn’t start dinner early enough and now you have to live with the consequences of my poor choices.)

“Behold, I have an announcement to make” (Or just using “Behold” instead of something normal like “Hey look” or “guess what?”)

Using the word “steward” in context of things that I’m borrowing. “I’ll be a good steward over your waffle iron.”

It’s also affected my sentence structure. It’s why I start so many sentences with “So” and “And,” both of which have gotten me in trouble in English classes. But seeing as the most common phrase in the Book of Mormon appears to be “And it came to pass…”, I totally think that beginning a sentence with “And” is completely legitimate.

I also like to blame scripture-language for my penchant for writing long sentences, but I suspect that might be a more personal failure on my part. It also can’t account for my failure to revise–I mean, the Book of Mormon is a freaking abridgement. There’s no way that doesn’t qualify as “revision.”


4 thoughts on “Words and Phrasing

  1. I like to use the word wax. “I tend to wax lengthy,” for example. Or tight like unto a dish. Or Wo be unto you! I once wrote an entire essay for creative writing in Scripture Speak. It was quite brilliant. I also have the same problem using “and” and “so” to start my sentences.

  2. The fact that you read too much scripture that is getting you into trouble in english class, seems like something that will ultimately be rewarded.

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