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Nice -- Writer's Poke #175

If you ever watch House Hunters, you know that most people have very limited vocabularies.

Q: "So, John, what do you think of the kitchen?"

A: "It's nice."

Q: "And how did your lobotomy go?"

A: "It turned out very nicely."

Sure, it makes a great drinking game, but why can't the average person be more descriptive? Why is it that everything is "nice," or if we're even more jazzed by what we see, we think that "very nice" adequately expresses the idea? Doesn't that mean that there are various levels of "nice," and if so, why are we so opposed to using a more specific word to more vividly describe what we're seeing. And more importantly, what we're feeling.

In contrast, some MTV "reality shows," such as Parental Control and Next seem horribly scripted. While watching, you just know that the people involved in the shows would never talk that way or that they would even be capable of thinking up those lines on their own. But perhaps stilted language is preferable to stultified vocabularies?

How would you describe your vocabulary? Have you ever taken specific steps to improve it?

"How nice -- to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive." -- Kurt Vonnegut


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