Word selection

Writers should have enough command of the English language to select the right word and not confuse one word for another. I have read several novels recently where authors confuse ground with floor, as in “He slumped to the ground.” The problem with this (and other examples) is the antagonist was in a house. The protagonist was fighting a small gang, taking them one at a time as they entered the kitchen, dragging them out to the lawn, and returning for the next one. I was confused-had he stayed outside to deal with the latest victim or was he in the kitchen again? I had to stop reading and back up to figure out if I missed something.

Ground is outdoors, be it sand, rock, mud, or grass. A floor is manmade and is usually indoors although outdoor band platforms and caves have floors.

If you have served in the naval service however, anything you walk on qualifies as a “deck.” Sailors swab decks and Marines hit the deck, the latter including floors, beaches, and rice paddies.

More confusion involves roof and ceiling: a roof is the outer portion of a building’s roof structure while a ceiling is the interior finish in a room. I have seen the wrong word used on more than one occasion.

Hopefully I have right words in this story.

The Dog

“Well, folks, that concludes our tour of Hoover Dam. Do you have any questions?”

Standing at the top of dam looking down the long concrete slope to the river, one tourist asked, “Has anyone ever jumped over the edge?”

“Nope. But, just last week a man threw his dog off the top.”

Amid the gasps, several people asked why.

“Too much mustard.”

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