Words We Use

“Whatever!!”  That was the response given by Dan to his girlfriend, Ashley, as she was upset with him.  Ashley interpreted Dan’s response as being one of indifference.  For all intents and purposes, their relationship ended at that moment.

“I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to make this a success.” That was Kelly responding to her boss on a new assignment.  In this case, the meaning of “whatever” changed completely. It became a word of assurance.

Words don’t exist just as dictionary entries.  They have meaning to those who speak them and to those who hear them.  Words also convey images of those who use them.  Dan’s use of the word, “whatever” gave one image, while Kelly’s use of the same word gave an entirely different image.

Consider another “ever” word:  HOWEVER.  It could convey a meaning of assurance:  “I’ll get this done, however difficult it may be.”  It can also convey doubt: “I understand what you are saying; however, have you thought about this?”

Just think about the various uses of the other “EVER” words:  Whenever, forever, whoever, wherever.  It doesn’t take much imagination to think about different ways these words can be used.

Think about how we learn to use words.  In K-12, we learn definitions and spelling.  In formal English composition classes, we learn to construct words into essays, arguments, and research papers, but most of us need to use words in real time as we speak.

How do we select the right word at the right moment in the proper context?  How do we learn how to use proper voice inflection to convey true meaning to the words we use?  These are things we learn from experience, both as one speaking words and as one listening to words.

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“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.  We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair.   Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.”  – Yehuda Berg (Co-Director of the Kabbalah Centre)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.