Category Archives: Word games

Nanowrimo-ing Monkey #4 – Swear Words

Hidey Ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here looking at the back side of Nanowrimo 2012 day 23.  I have 33,076 of 46,000 words written so far.  Don’t know about Nano check out my Nov 3rd post here.

Last week, I wrote about that hated bit of grammar, homophones.  I suppose comedians don’t hate homophones.  They do make great puns.  This week I’m tackling the other common topic around my household – Swear Words.  Capitalization intended.

We have 3 little kiddies running around here at Monkey Manor and mommy has a potty mouth.  Well, I used to.  When kiddie numero uno came along, I quickly realized that quitting the use of swear words was not gonna happen.  So I changed them to other words, that wouldn’t shame me when my kids repeat them in public.  Or at church.

For this to work, I found that I needed to maintain the flavor of the word, as it rolled off the tongue.  Some of the same consonant sounds were important and it had to be the same number of syllables as the original.

  • So that guy who cut me off on the highway – he’s a “Dill Weed” instead of that other d-word ending in “head.”
  • When I’ve put all of the groceries into the car, strapped the children into their car seats and I’m running late already, but realize there is a small hole in the bottom of the last gallon of milk and I have to get everybody back out of the car and drag my late butt back to the store to make an exchange…that calls for the big guns, “Butter Lover.”  Same syllables as mother@#$%er, without the shame when it’s repeated at school.
  • Now last but not least, the big guy – also a favorite of mine – had to find similarity in an obscure way.  Fudge was just too close to the original, so I use a different yummy home-made candy: Peanut Brittle.

In addition to changing the curse words I use at home, I’ve adopted another practice my Peacock friends use.  It’s a word rating system.  All words find their place in the system, somewhere between 1 and 5.  I’ve introduced this to my second grader and she gets it – she just wants me to tell her all of the #5 words which, of course, I can’t because they are un-utterable.

  1. All normal words are ones.  All the everyday words and in fact all of the words in this blog so far (well, at least the words that actually appear – those alluded to are 3′s or 4′s) are ones.
  2. Number two words are the little kid “bad” words – pee, poop, butt, boob – those kinds of things that my 4 year old boys think are hysterical.  These are those words that we probably want to think twice about using with our great Aunt Susan, for example or Father McKestry at Catholic School, but otherwise they’re ok.  He-he.  I said “but”.
  3. Number 3 words are not nice words that find themselves on the lower tier of the adult swears.  Interestingly enough, like many of the number 2 words, many 3′s are also bathroom words or body parts, just not the nicer, more g-rated terms.
  4. Fours are the big guns when it comes to swears – many of them beginning with F.
  5. Fives are the un-utterables.  In my mind, these words should never be uttered by anyone except perhaps by history professors or linguists in a lesson on how words can be hurtful for generations at a time.  Quite frankly, if I hear my children utter one of these, they are very likely to get their mouth washed out with soap – even if they are 35 years old when it happens.  These words are ugly racist terms, misogynistic terms, hate filled words.  You know the ones I mean.

The plan with this rating scale is to help my little ones learn that most words are perfectly fine to use but that there are some others that are more powerful and need to be used with care. 

Today’s secret: If I call you a dill weed or other herb, it’s not complementary.

Today’s question: Do you swear?  Do you use the real thing or like to substitute?

It’s a Mad,Mad, Mad, Mad Lib!

Hello, loves! Suze here. So glad to see you.

Today’s post is just for fun. Did you love Mad Libs as a kid? I did, and I still do. So how about we do a romance version? No reading through to the end of this post or your Mad Lib won’t be as good! Here’s how it works:

Write down a word, romance-y or silly, for each of the following entries:

  1. noun
  2. body part
  3. verb
  4. noun
  5. noun
  6. past tense verb
  7. verb
  8. plural noun
  9. plural noun
  10. emotion
  11. past tense verb
  12. past tense verb
  13. adverb (yay! you get to use adverbs, guilt free!)
  14. adverb (yay! another one!)
  15. body part
  16. body part
  17. verb
  18. verb
  19. plural verb
  20. noun

Got your words? Great! Now take them and plug them into the following paragraph from a classic novel. Sorry, all you purists out there! I mean no disrespect to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy–well, maybe only a little. But it’s a loving kind of disrespect.

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common ___1___ and anxiety of his ___2___, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to ___3___ that her ___4___ had undergone so material a change, since the ___5___ to which he ___6___, as to make her ___7___ with gratitude and ___8___ his present ___9___. The ___10___ which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never ___11___ before; and he ___12___ himself on the occasion as ___13___ and as ___14___ as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his ___15___, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his ___16___, became him; but, though she could not ___17___, she could ___18___, and he told her of ___19___, which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his ___20___ more valuable.

How’d it come out? How about sharing your “creation” in the comments section? Have a lovely day, Scribelings!

Play With Your Words

Hello, Katy Lee here. When I was a kid I loved to play with my food. To give myself some credit, though, I will say, I never dove into my meals like “Mommy’s Little Piggy” from “A Christmas Story.” Eww.

Usually, I was a mad scientist pretending to work in a laboratory, creating concoctions that would save the world from some annoying fungus or the like. (Yes, I even created stories to go with my food.) By the time I finished playing, I had taken a boring, straight-laced meal (Shh, don’t tell my mother) and created the pièce de résistance. And eventually, as I got older, my playing turned into experimenting with various spices and ingredients with the end results of some fabulous works of food art.

Even back then I followed the old saying, “All work and no play makes Katy a dull girl.” That anything without play is boring.  And now, as a writer, I have taken that play into my stories.

Now, you may say your story follows the correct baseline, bringing your reader from point A to point B, with all the necessary black moments and turning points, and that’s great, but without a little jue de mots (play on words) your story could end up like my mom’s meals. Sure, it’s complete and it will satisfy, but it sure could have used a little wordplay to spice it up.

Some ways I have found to do this in my writing can include substituting out your everyday words for more exciting descriptive ones. For example, I could take the word “dancing” and replace it with “a toe-tapping production.” It feels a bit livelier and more fun.

A thesaurus can be most helpful for doing this, but a lot of times you want to do more than just swap out one word for another. You want to give your reader a whole visual as a comparison.

For example, in a situation where you need to paint a picture of a failing business, you could draw that out in numerous sentences, or you could say something like this. “We could count our client list on one hand of a bad high-school woodshop teacher.” (Thank you Mitch Joel)

The Unlocked Secret: A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you can give your reader the picture in just a few, you just saved yourself a whole lot of work…and a high word count. Get creative in your descriptions. Experiment with new vocabulary. Play word games. And read, read, read. You never know, maybe your writing will spice up so much, you’ll win a major award!

Question: How do you play with your words? And BTW, if anyone wants to play a game of Facebook Scrabble with me, bring it on.