I.A. Richards, British rhetorician, used Read a Page: A Course in Effective Reading (1942) to examine 100 important words – significant for meaning rather the etymology or frequency of use. Richards proposes that each is a word we cannot avoid using in acting to think – that is to learn, to make or convey meaning. Additionally, “They are words we are forced to use in explaining other words ….” We, therefore, must make use of these words to address (unmask, clarify, contexualize, explore) ambiguities rather than to (re)make ambiguities anew. Richards’ 100 words –
Amount, Argument, Art, Be, Beautiful, Belief, Cause, Certain, Chance, Change, Clear, Common, Comparison, Condition, Connection, Copy, Decision, Degree, Desire, Development, Different, Do, Education, End, Event, Examples, Existence, Experience, Fact, Fear, Feeling, Fiction, Force, Form, Free, General, Get, Give, Good, Government, Happy, Have, History, Idea, Important, Interest, Knowledge, Law, Let, Level, Living, Love, Make, Material, Measure, Mind, Motion, Name, Nation, Natural, Necessary, Normal, Number, Observation, Opposite, Order, Organization, Part, Place, Pleasure, Possible, Power, Probable, Property, Purpose, Quality, Question, Reason, Relation, Representative, Respect, Responsible, Right, Same, Say, Science, See, Seem, Sense, Sign, Simple, Society, Sort, Special, Substance, Thing, Thought, True, Use, Way, Wise, Word, Work
– will be awaiting me when my 100 words writing flounders.
(Or, will be awaiting my grand-goddaughter and I as we write by sometimes swapping 100 word creations.)