05 March 2011

"There’s the 'Autocue Substitute,' where I scan my current sentence for trouble and change vocabulary and grammar to avoid it, without (ideally) my listener noticing. This doesn’t work when I’m doing a reading (though occasionally I’ll substitute a word in one of my own books on the hoof), but it was excellent training for a future novelist. By the age of 15 I was a zit-spattered thesaurus of synonyms and an expert on lexical registers. At my rural comprehensive, substituting the word 'pointless' with 'futile' would get you beaten up for being a snob because the register’s too high—it’s a teacher’s word—so I’d deploy 'useless.'"

--David Mitchell, from an essay on "The King's Speech."

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