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Monologophobia—An overwhelming fear of using a word more than once in a single sentence, or even in a single paragraph.

There's a nice article over at About.com.

One painful example (from the above article--go read it if you're blocked on what proper treatment might be in the below case):

Etiology: As a child the patient was probably compelled to stand in a corner because he wrote, in a composition: "Grandma gave me a piece of apple pie, then I had another piece of apple pie and then I had another piece of apple pie."

Symptoms: The patient now writes: "The wife gave me a piece of apple pie, then I obtained another slice of the pastry containing the round fleshy fruit, and then I secured another portion of the all-American dessert." As is evident, monologophobia is usually accompanied by synonymomania.

This came up over at imaginaries.org lately (yesterday, give or take?).

What it brings to mind for me is something I've experienced in my writing: deja-word. I know I've found the right word when I do a quick search and realize I actually haven't yet used it at all. Sometimes, though, I realize I've used the word "slowly" five times in a paragraph, and, er, pray I can fix it in revision.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
I have that problem of repeating, I find. A lot of times.

But also... I guess when I'm more alert of what I'm actually writing, I do think about not using the same word again when tempted. And I come out with a sentence sounding like that second sentence.

That's really interesting. hmm hmm hmm
Feb. 21st, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)

From the article:

Treatment: Gently suggest to the patient that repetition is not necessarily fatal, but that if it is an intrusive manifestation, the corrective is not a conspicuous synonym but rather an inconspicuous pronoun or noun: "another," "a second," "a third one."
Feb. 21st, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
Feb. 21st, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
indeed. though I'd never gotten round to understanding how to parse it. Thanks :)
Feb. 22nd, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
My habit of using the word "so" was recently discovered by a beta reader of mine. It's a part of my everyday speech! I'm Italian. I admit it, I'm dramatic. You're not sweet, your SO sweet. You're not slow, you're SO slow. Apparently, it came across in my writing enough that this sharp-eyed beta started circling them. Gads--thank goodness for that fresh, NON-Italian set of eyes!
Feb. 22nd, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)

So...are you dropping the so's, or strengthening their objects, or a bit of both? :)
Feb. 22nd, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Heh-heh--dropped most of them. For the most part, there SO isn't a need for the word to begin with. How much more graceful can you get than graceful?? Crazy me.
Feb. 22nd, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Monologophobia

I never, never suffer from it - never :P
Mar. 25th, 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
oh Lord, YES!
I'm nodding and gritting my teeth. I personally know the quintessential sufferer of this affliction.

I've never been able to explain it to him, nor make it through any of the several novels I've beta read for him without sighing, rolling my eyes, and trying to explain it again.

The most aggravating parts are the dialogue attributions... nobody in any of these manuscripts SAID anything; the characters reiterated, they intoned, they uttered obtrusively, they alluded, they persuaded.

I get a headache everytime. (NO. They DIDN'T. They. Just. SAID. ::HeadDeskOwww::)

Makes me scream. And not in the good way.

~~Tracy Lucas
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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