Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I was surprised and saddened to learn the word "suddenly" had been banned from the language available for use in literary writing. I don’t know who is allowed to make these determinations, but it is always good to know that someone is in charge. Moreover I now have a better understanding of what will classify one’s writing as either erudite or unscholarly.

I decided to look up this fallen word just to be certain I knew what I was giving up. According to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Unabridged Dictionary it is an adverb meaning “in a sudden manner.” Wanting to be thorough, I read the definition of “sudden” which yielded the following: 1. happening without previous notice; coming or appearing unexpectedly; not foreseen or prepared for. 2. done, coming or taking place quickly or abruptly; hasty. 3. violent; rash; precipitate; impetuous. 4. rapidly effective; prompt in effect.

That first word in the definition notation was a dead giveaway since I additionally learned adverbs have been removed from literary writing. Adjectives are suspect as well, but I did hear in the presented literary readings many still in use. I wondered if these new rules were a fad or had they been around those many, many years ago when I was taking high school English classes? Perhaps I missed a day or was daydreaming during that part of the lesson.

This news has definitely affected me because I have been known to use that expelled word when describing an unexpected, violent, rash, precipitate or impetuous event. I will need to scour my writing to remove this proscribed word. Fortunately, the computer will make this easy as I put out a search for the offender.

My newfound knowledge will additionally help me decode whether I am reading learned material or just common, popular writing. It is always a relief to be given the hard and fast rules whereby one’s creative outlets are governed. However, after this most recent addition to my literary knowledge, I worry about how many more of these rules there are I don’t know about.