A friendship that has spanned almost five decades was recently rekindled on two trips to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my former twirling duet partner Jeannie lives. On the second trip, my hubby and I were warmly welcomed into their home.
As teenagers, Jeannie and I were long-time members of
the Saskatchewan Roughrider Riderettes, providing pregame and halftime entertainment for that Canadian Football League team inthe 1960s.
In our time together, Jeannie and I reminisced about those glory days of twirling fire baton and flag baton and hoop baton on the football field and at various competitions. I specifically recalled being part of twirling team called the Precisionettes—emphasizing military-like movements in our marching routines.
What good training for my focus on precision in our language today!
One example of writing precision is “just”—an adverb I see overused in the nonfiction books I edit. Mostly, I see authors taking the lazy route by writing “just” when a more precise word works better.
The imprecise “just” can mean “simply,” “only,” “recently,” and more. Consider these examples:
● I just (recently) returned from the store.
● It’s just (only) a few blocks away.
● You can just (only) do one thing at a time.
● I could just (simply) tell you to stay home.
As a writer, do you see how you can be more accurate if you take a moment to ask: What is a more precision choice than “just” in this situation?
My recommendation? Forget about taking a lazy shortcut and simply (not just) resolve to be a Precisionette with everything you write!
Now have some fun! Guess which Riderette is “yours truly” in the photo. The first one to respond in Comments with the correct identification receives a PDF of my Word Trippers ebook.
Hint: Jeannie and I (posing side by side) are among the tallest Riderettes.