I have been teaching my Public Speaking students about language, especially the great power of our words to create or destroy. Writers are always influencing by the words we choose to describe something or someone. I wonder if we are constantly conscious of what we are doing…. Do we always choose the word that is the clearest and most descriptive, and not a judgment? After all, readers are limited to the world we create, with its values and visions of what is–or could be–in it. Are we painting brave new worlds with our word pictures or are we prescribing a life that only gratifies or glorifies our self-centered natures? And are we conscious of the beauty and precision of the grammatical context of our words, or do our fingers go tripping and tumbling along a path, throwing commas and other punctuation wherever we please with no thought to scooping up the excess?
Here are some possible answers, quotes I found on Goodreads:
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” ― C.S. Lewis
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”― Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.” ― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls
“There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.” ― Philip K. Dick, VALIS
“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
How have you been changed by the words you’ve read?