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apart from the question of taste, they are ill-adapted for use in serious writings, and should be avoided. To be sure, a distinction has to be made between kinds of slang. Some are wholly bad; others are almost tolerable. For the “vulgar terms used by vulgar men to describe vulgar things ’’ nothing can be said; but for many apt or picturesque expressions which are derived from reputable sports or occupations, but which are still labeled “slang '' the case is a little different. A spoken language is a living thing. It is continually growing and enriching itself with words from various sources, and one of these sources, unquestionably, is slang. Many expressions in the English language which are now recognized by good usage as legitimate were once mere slang terms. “Bias,” “hazard,” “hit the mark,” “within an ace of,” for instance, are examples of such expressions. The language has adopted these terms in spite of the fact that they were once slang, but it has adopted them because they were needed. It will adopt others just as readily, provided they also are needed. This, however, is an important proviso; and the young writer who is proposing to use a favorite bit of slang would do well to pause and consider whether or not, in that particular case, the proviso has been met. As to the use of newly coined words, the caution already given with respect to the use of slang may be repeated: it is permissible only when the language has need of the new words. With a thinking, progressive people, new things and new ideas are constantly coming into vogue, and so long as this is true, so long will there be a need for new words. To object to these new words would be to deny to the language the means offmaking a natural growth. At the same time, before a writer introduces, or uses, a new word, he should be quite sure that the need for it really exists. Language is, on the whole, rather impatient of useless terms. It prefers to adapt, wherever possible, old words to new uses, rather than to invent new terms for everything; and whenever it finds itself encumbered with more words to express a given idea than are necessary, it usually shows a tendency to get rid of some of them. As every writer owes something to his language, it is his duty, therefore, to avoid trying to foist useless baggage upon it. Before venturing upon the coinage of new words, he should exhaust the possibilities of those already at his command. With regard to accuracy, it would seem to be the duty of the writer, if he really wishes to say something, to try to find the word which will, so far as he can see, precisely express the thought he has in his mind. This word, provided it is one which will be understood by his readers, is the word he should use. If there is any conflict between the demands of accuracy and intelligibility, he should always prefer, of course, intelligibility to accuracy. A word which is understood, even though it be not just the right word, may come near conveying the idea the writer intended; but a word which is not understood, no matter how exactly used or how accurately it may fit the thought in the writer's mind, is not likely to convey any idea at all. How to find the right word is often a difficult matter; no unfailing rule for finding it can be given. It may be safely said that wide reading and at least some experience in writing will alone give one that thorough knowledge of words necessary to the making of the right choice on a given occasion. He who would learn to write, then, should, as has already been suggested, first do a good deal of careful reading in standard authors—the more the better. Reading, however, can be supplemented by the judicious use of a dictionary or a book of synonyms; and it is a good plan for the young writer to keep one or the other at his elbow while writing, and to get into the habit of consulting it frequently. Suppose, for example, the writer is at a loss for some good, specific word to express the idea of “searching for,” “finding out ’’—the adroit and persistent questioning, let us say, of a reluctant witness to get at the truth. General terms to express the idea are “find out,” “search for,” “discover,” “get at.” One of these will probably be the first to occur to the writer; but suppose no one of them is satisfactory. Thereupon the dictionary or book of synonyms is brought into requisition. On turning up in the index of Roget’s Treasury of English Words, for instance, any one of the terms mentioned, the inquirer will be referred to the section on “Results of Reasoning,” where he will find all sorts of expressions for the general idea. Running over these, he will come at length to “ferret out,” which, let us suppose, strikes him as the term he wants to use. To reassure himself, he may look it up in the dictionary. There he will find that it means, literally, “to drive out of a lurking-place, as a ferret does a rabbit.’’’ and that figuratively it means “to search out by perseverance and cunning.” He has now a term which exactly fits the thought in his mind, and he will consequently be able to make what he says much more effective than if he had been content with the first general word that occurred to him. With regard to the necessity for being forceful, the writer must remember that he cannot always assume an eagerness on the part of his readers to learn what he has to say. If he could assume so much, accuracy and clearness in the choice of his words would be all that he need concern himself about. But few are so much on the alert for what may be of interest to them that they will seek it out wherever it may be found. Most men need to have their attention attracted or compelled. To make the communication of his thought effective, therefore, the writer must endeavor to give to his style some degree of forcefulness. His words, that is, must not only be intelligible and accurately used; they must be forceful as well; they must be words which, when used under given conditions, attract or compel our attention, make us feel that they are the fit words to use under those conditions. The forceful word is the apt word, the word that not only fits the place in which it is put, but makes us recognize that fact.

* See the Century Dictionary.

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