Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

As a writer, do you ever think about how a word will SOUND when you use it?


It’s always good to remember that language was probably SPOKEN before it was WRITTEN. Storytellers gathered around campfires in the evenings and told stories long before they developed writing.

I once interviewed some people doing an English translation of the Bible which was designed specifically to be read in public. In addition to working on accurate translations of the biblical books from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, etc., into English, they were trying to “listen” to the words they used and think about how people would hear the translation.

I found that an interesting idea because I’ve long thought about how words sound. Some words, according to some old comedic “bits,” sound inherently funny. Any word that starts with a “Z,” according to some of the vaudeville comics of yesteryear, is inherently funny to say. Maybe there’s something to that?

I’ve always thought the word “sconce” has an intriguing sound to it. When I hear “sconce” I think of mystery and fog shrouded castle walls and moors. I know it’s just a light mounted on a wall, and generally it’s an electric light, not a candle. But I still see mysterious, dramatic images when I hear the word “sconce” said aloud.

What are English some words you react to in a distinct way when you hear them? I’m talking about any word that puzzles you, angers you, cheers you, etc., based solely or mostly on the way it sounds when read or spoken aloud. Leave a comment and let us know your favorite sounding and/or least favorite sounding English words.