Monday, May 7, 2012

She purports...

“She purports that…”
“Wait, what was that word?”
“Oh, reports.”
“No, purports. P-U-R-P-O-R-T-S”
“Never heard that. What does it mean?”
“Claims. Well, claims implies it isn’t true. Says? Reports? Yeah, reports probably works.”
He sat there looking at me with his mouth open. “Then why not just say it?”
“It didn’t occur to me you wouldn’t know purports.”
Then that very night I saw purports in a book I was reading. See? I’m not the only one who uses it. Vindication is mine!
Word choice. The English language affords us endless opportunity to tweak a meaning or add connotation. The word “dispatch”for instance. Connotation implies a stressful, busy, loud environment. Which is why I didn’t apply for a job I was qualified for. Give me a quiet cube in the corner, and I’m golden.
New words are fun to learn, and generally you can glean the meaning from the context of the sentence. But every now and then I run across an author that really annoys me by throwing in LOTS of words I don’t know. Depending on my mood and access to a dictionary I’ll either tough it out and hope they stop or just put the book down.
So I guess the lesson I learned here is to keep in mind my audience when I’m both talking and writing.
And now I know my audience knows the word purports!

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