Word of the Week: Prognosticate

Word: prognosticate

Pronunciation: prahɡ-NAH-stə-kayt

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: foretell or prophesy an event in the future

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Today’s vocabulary entry is about another word I happened to pick up from Oxford Dictionaries‘ Word of the Day list. Though I’ve long been familiar with “prognostic” and “prognosis”, it was interesting to stumble upon a verb form of these words. Funny how hard it is for me to “prognosticate” what strange new words will make it into my Word of the Week segment!

To “prognosticate” a future event is to prophesy or foretell it. The word arose in late Middle English and comes from the Latin verb prognosticare, meaning “to make a prediction”. This word traces back through the adjective prognosticus to the Greek adjective prognōstikós “foreknowing”, which in turn comprises the prefix pro- “before” and the adjective gnōstikós “knowing”.

As mentioned above, the verb “prognosticate” is related to the adjective “prognostic” (meaning “serving to predict the likely outcome of a disease or ailment”) and the noun “prognosis” (meaning “the likely course of a disease or ailment”). Note that despite their primary use as medical terms, both these words can function as nouns indicating the prediction of future events, though this sense for “prognostic” has become archaic in modern use. If your characters often make predictions about the future, “prognosticate” may be a good word to add to your vocabulary!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Follow the Bunny

If you enjoy the sweetest snack,
Be sure to follow every track:
A set of paw prints leading back
Outside into the dawn.

You catch a glimpse of something white
That came to visit in the night
To bring you treats and sweet delight:
A bunny on your lawn!

You look down at the grassy ground
And gaze in wonder all around
At all the chocolate eggs you’ve found
To munch throughout the day.

Now spend the day with ones you love
To celebrate the Lord above!
Enjoy the fun (and chocolate) of
This blessed Easter Sunday!

Happy Easter to all my family, friends, and readers who are celebrating! May you all have a blessed weekend!

14 Wordy Phrases You Should Edit Out of Your Writing

If you’ve been writing for most of your life, you’ll probably agree that editing is the hardest part of the craft. For those of us who take our art seriously, the joy of creation is always followed by the challenge of polishing, which can be especially difficult for those of us who deal with the many rules of English. One of the most common mistakes inexperienced writers make is using unnecessarily wordy phrases in their first drafts, which is why the Elevate – Brain Training app includes a game called Clarity, an exercise that teaches players how to simplify said phrases to improve the flow of their writing. I’ve learned quite a few editing tips from this game, and I think you might find them useful too!

So for your reference, here are 14 wordy phrases you should eliminate from your writing during the editing phase. Enjoy!

1) As long as: a common phrase used to indicate that something will happen under a certain condition. Simplify “as long as” with “if”.

2) At the end of: indicates something that is last or that follows something else. “Simplify “at the end of” with “after”.

3) Draw attention to: refers to someone or something that deserves notice. Simplify “draw attention to” with “highlight”.

4) Give an indication of: implies a hint or a glimpse of something. Simplify “give an indication of” with “indicate” or “reveal”.

5) Have an effect on: the passive form of the verb “affect”. Simplify “have an effect on” with “affect” or “influence”.

6) Hold a conference: passive phrase meaning to gather people to talk. Simplify “hold a conference” with “confer”.

7) In conjunction: indicates two events that are connected. Simplify “in conjunction” with “along”.

8) Not the same: negative phrase indicating something that differs from a given subject. Simplify “not the same” with “different”.

9) Notwithstanding the fact: redundant when the fact is explained in the sentence. Simplify “notwithstanding the fact” with “although”.

10) Owing to the fact: also redundant when the fact is already explained. Simplify “owing to the fact” with “because”.

11) Relating to: indicates something related to a given subject. Simplify “relating to” with “about”.

12) Spell out: informal phrase meaning to describe something in detail. Simplify “spell out” with “explain”.

13) Take action: the passive form of the verb “act”. Simplify “take action” with “act”.

14) There is a chance it will: lengthy phrase used to indicate that something might happen. Simplify “there is a chance it will” with “it may”.

Are you guilty of using any of these phrases? What other wordy phrases would you add to this list?

Word of the Week: Laud

Word: laud

Pronunciation: LAHD

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: praise a person or their achievements highly, especially in a public context

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Here’s another word that’s overdue to appear on my blog, since I learned it a long time ago from studying vocabulary flashcards. Since first reading it years ago, I’ve seen it used several times in reference to people deserving of praise, mostly those in the public eye. When simply “praising” someone isn’t formal enough, you can always “laud” their accomplishments instead!

To “laud” a person or their achievements is to praise them highly, especially in public. The word arose in late Middle English and traces back through the Old French verb laude to the Latin verb laudare, meaning “to praise”. This verb stems from the noun laus, which means “glory”.

Aside from its primary use as a verb, “laud” can also function as a noun to mean “praise” or a “hymn of praise”, though this sense has become archaic in modern language. The word is classified as formal in Oxford Dictionaries, making it most appropriate for formal writing, but I believe it can work just as well in certain stories depending on the author’s writing style. A common derivative of this word is the adjective “laudable”, meaning “deserving praise and commendation”. If your characters’ achievements are often worthy of praise, “laud” may be a good word to include in your vocabulary!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Spring Cleaning

When spring is in the air
And the flowers are in bloom,
It’s time to get to cleaning
That messy living room.

Push aside your tables
And turn up every chair.
Vacuum up the carpet
And refresh the dusty air.

Catch those pesky “bunnies”
Hiding underneath your couch.
A sparkling floor is only won
By those who dare to crouch.

Don’t forget the other rooms.
The kitchen needs a scrub.
And you don’t want to put off
Cleaning up that stained bathtub.

The bedrooms need a dusting
And a vacuuming as well,
And tossing out old junk will surely
Help improve the smell.

At last, your cleaning’s finished,
From the garage to the den.
Now you finally can relax…
Until spring rolls round again.

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