Tuesday

Bovine Placidity or Placid as Cows?















This definition of the term Elegant Variation is from the blog of the same name: http://marksarvas.blogs.com/elegvar/
"The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."

I think an audience with a certain bovine placidity sounds much more interesting than an audience as placid as cows. An audience of placid cows sounds okay, or how about a cattle herd for an audience.

On the whole, a point to remember.


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