As we get older, it gets tougher to find the right word and easier to find the wrong one. I think it’s because the synopsis in our brains are not firing correctly. I exhume it’s because we’re losing our vocabulary. Is my wife being factitious when she says she wants to take a walk in the cold rain? Or is this an early sign of salinity?

I’m not going through a whole resuscitation of every verbal gaffe we udder. Not to sound portentous, but I make lesser mistakes than most people, thanks to my English lessens. We diaphragmed sentences to show how the adverses modified the verbs. We studied every part of speech: particles, additives and conjunctures. We covered everything from A to B. We accompliced so much without killing the language.

We expended our vocabulary, mesmerizing new words every day. We also gnu their meanings. But it’s not like I was some kind of genus. I once contused celery with salary. But what’s wrong with that? We got salary because Roman soldiers were paid with salt. Maybe you are being paid with a green herb that comes in stalks? 

Lettuce continue. We are libel to make mistakes, due to our instability to remember what we learned in school — “I before E excerpt after See,” that kind of thing. English has so many rules and so many expectorations! Plus we had to intent all of our paragraphs. There’s no doubt that writhing is difficult. It’s recumbent on us to improve our word choices.

I used to think grammar was our primal problem but know it’s using the rite word. Some are so alike. I was just complimenting someone on their new set of indentures. She got mad and claimed she was no longer bound to toil for another until she repaved her debt. I was congratulating a student on how she conjugaled her verb tenses. She looked at me funny, like she wanted to send me to prism. 

Confucian reigns in our communication. How about when someone says, “Uh huh,” and we think they already carried out the garbage. But they really meant “Uh, uh,” they haven’t gotten to it yet. Just the slightest change in infection turns a yes into a know.  

I can’t account the number of thymes I’ve heard people use the wrong word. I marble when they quarry me about the simplest ones. Have they ever thought of using a tyrannosaurus to find the cinnamon? The dictionary is another resonance book. It contains the meanderings of every word, secluding my favorite one, zowie! 

Zowie means astonishment and that’s how church members reacted when I was reading a tribute to my in-laws for their Golden Anniversary. I said that they had first met while sinning around the piano. 

John Rice is a weekly columnist for our sister publication, the Forest Park Review. But his relationship to words was established growing up in Oak Park. 

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