The first and only time I snuck out of the house, I was four. I figured that if I duck-walked below the kitchen window and hugged the picket fence until I got to the street, I could make it to my aunt’s house two doors away without my mother seeing me. I figured right. That might be the reason I like using sneaky words and being sneaky in general. What I didn’t count on was my aunt tattling on me. While I enjoyed the raisin cookie she gave me, she called my mother. That also might be the reason I don’t like raisin cookies.
I’m all for clarity in writing, but sometimes it’s good to be subtle. The three words featured in this writing tip are good examples of sneaky or subtle words: allusion (to allude), elusive/elude, and illusion. They are often misused, so here’s a short discussion on their usage:
Allusion is an indirect reference or subtle mention of something:
My aunt alluded to my disappearance when she told my mother to look around her house for a four-year-old, tow-headed girl in pigtails.
Elude means to cleverly escape from or avoid someone or something. Likewise elusive refers to something that is difficult to find, catch, or achieve:
Not even my clever idea and well-planned escape eluded my mother who (I found out later) had watched my getaway from the kitchen window.
Illusion is a false or unreal belief; or something that seems to exist but doesn’t, or seems to be something but isn’t. It is a false image, leaving false impressions.
I was living an illusion when I thought I could outsmart my mother.
Kathleen Kaska, Marketing Director
by Kathleen Kaska, Marketing Director
An article recently stated that sitting is the new smoking, meaning prolonged sitting is bad for your heath. The article holds that the human body is built to move, not sit for hours at a time, whether it is behind a desk or on the sofa. Sitting too much can cause digestive problems, organ damage, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, muscle degeneration, and leg disorders. My problem with sit is not in the posture itself, it’s the way the word is used, and how often it is confused it with set.
Sit is an intransitive verb, or an action performed by the subject. It does need not the help of an object. It performs its task nicely on its own.
She sits; he sits, we sit. Simple.
Set is a transitive verb, or an action that is accomplished with something. In other words, an object has to follow set. She set the flowerpot on the patio table. She set the brush pile on fire. Think of set this way: the flowerpot can’t place itself on the table, nor can the brush pile ignite itself.
Now here’s some practice sentences:
1. Gerald did not _____ long, once he noticed a wasp nest under the bench.
2. Edith refused to _____ next to her cousin, George, who always reeked of Limburger cheese and heady sausage.
3. I always _____ my glass of ice tea on a coaster because my mother raised me right.
4. My dog loves to _____ on my foot to prevent me from leaving.
5. I told the waiter to _____ the check next to you.
If you fill in the blanks correctly, reward yourself by taking a nice, healthy walk to the corner store for a bag of chips and a full-strength soda.