I want my speech students to know that, when they are preparing their speeches, they need to use simple, precise language.

"Save the big words for your English teachers," I told them. "In this class, we ride the short bus."

(That statement became the basis for a spontaneous mini-lesson on denotation and connotation.) (And I--ONCE AGAIN)--made a solemn promise to myself that I would think before I speak.)

To show them just how annoying confusing flowery adjectival language can be, I made this worksheet.

Each of the following statements is familiar to you, but its language here is slightly more complex. Use a dictionary (if necessary) to identify these common sayings.

Example: A government's chief means of currency in no way derives itself from a deciduous growth.
Answer: Money doesn't grow on trees.

How many can you answer?

You seem to have found yourself in a predicament akin to having no means of purpulsion while in the midst of a small stream.

You maintain the condition of being a shard extracted from a large wooden cube that is rather advanced in years.

It is possible for one to compel a large, hoofed, herbivorous quadruped toward a body of liquid; however, it is less than likely that one will find success in coercing the aforementioned mammal to indulge itself in the libation of said fluid compound.

That person is scrambling in a capricious manner, much like a decapitated domesticated farm fowl.

It is advisable not to situate oneself in a manner correspondent to a protuberance resting on a felled tree. [This one's for you, Joon!]

Those who are in a position requiring dependence upon others' kindness are decidedly unable to request a variety of options.

Upon the occurrence of a downpour of aqueous vapor, you will experience, simultaneously, a copious deluge of the same.

It is a universal truth that one will always encounter a visible vapor in the vicinity of a burning mass of material.

There is no discernable benefit to emitting a watery fluid as an emotional reaction to a deluge of mammalian-secreted liquid.

The ovoid fruit of the oak tends to, when disengaged, remain in the immediate area of its place of origin.

I am not in the practice of capriciously warbling the reverberation of the unofficial anthem of the now defunct Confederate States of America.


lorinda said...

These are hilarious!

Waterfall said...

What an awesome worksheet. If I were still teaching comp, I'd ask you if I could borrow it!

--Deb said...

Fun! And I got them all. (I'd list them to prove it, but why spoil it for anyone else who comes along?) It's always a pleasure giving my vocabulary a workout.

And . . . purpulsion? Or propulsion?

Dreamy said...

I wish my college teacher would assign this to our writing class. Sometimes I wish I could walk around braining people with Strunk and White's Elements of Style and see if it sinks in... This was awesome

Mei said...

Thanks, guys! I had fun making them up.
Deb: propulsion/purpulsion (sigh) Another case of my fingers getting ahead of my brain.
Dreamy: I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing, and he references Strunk&White quite a bit. It's a fascinating book, and I do wish I could force some of my kids to read (and learn from) it.


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