Let me preface today’s post by telling you it’s written tongue-in-cheek. (Since I’m writing this instead of speaking about it, would that be thumb-in-cheek?) Although the word makes me cringe, I promise I won’t pummel anyone who uses it. Very much.
There are few words I won’t use when writing (if I can help it.) Most of them are vulgar.
Today’s word, though, isn’t vulgar. At least a vulgar word has its uses–to shock or startle the reader or to show the character of the person using the word.
Today’s word is just useless. I mean, come on. It’s a stupid word. Okay, maybe not a stupid word, but an unnecessary one.
Today’s word? Plethora. (Bet you saw that one coming.)
According to Dictionary.com–
noun–overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance.
There are tons of much better words to use instead of plethora. Try deluge, flood, glut, many, much, overabundance, overflow, overkill, overmuch, plenty, profusion, superabundance, superfluity, surfeit or surplus.
Usually “a lot” will do the trick.
Yeah, yeah, I know. There’s an unwritten law that says all newby writers must use plethora somewhere in their work. Even if it’s never published. Even if it causes critique partners to scream and run the other way. Even if it makes the hair stand up on my neck and my ears bleed.
Much to my shame, I have used it myself, in one of my first manuscripts. (Hangs head.) I had my heroine, whose name I can’t remember, walk into a house, look around and see a plethora of doilies.
I’m embarrassed now, just thinking about it. (BTW: That manuscript isn’t just under the bed; it has been stabbed, shredded, burned, salted and buried deep in the ground for reasons besides the plethoric one.)
Why do I detest plethora?
- It’s pretentious.
- It’s three syllables when one will do.
- It’s almost always a writer who’s trying to look like something she’s not. (Blush.)
- And it makes me gag.
EXCEPT! I loved it in The Three Amigos.
So ‘fess up. Are there any words that affect you like fingernails on a chalkboard?
Bonus points: Can you find a video to go along with it? 😛
- Do We Have a Plethora Yet? (sofarfromheaven.com)