/kəˈpris / –noun
a sudden, unpredictable change, as of one’s mind or the weather.
- a tendency to change one’s mind without apparent or adequate motive; whimsicality; capriciousness: With the caprice of a despotic king, he alternated between kindness and cruelty.
A whim, a quirk, fancy, impulse or fad. All perfectly workable words, all perfectly familiar and commonly used words; caprice, not so much. My question is why is that? Caprice is such a cool word. It looks cool, it sounds cool, it is cool. It’s also not used so much. Not anymore. And yes, English has just too many words that mean approximately the same thing, which is not the point.
The point is my point is that we oftentimes pick the most…boring ones. Like awesome, my least favorite word—at least for the past few years when it has become ridiculously overused—in the dictionary. Synonyms are also a very cool concept, certainly with our language, and since we have so much redundancy (superfluous, outmoded, disused, surplus, unnecessary) built right in we may as well take advantage of it.
So here’s to caprice instead of whim. Here’s to spectacular instead of awesome. Dim-witted instead of stupid. You get the idea.
This message is especially aimed at all you teachers of English, grammar, and writing. We encourage you to egg on your students to reach for that unusual word. Push for the synonym rather than the over-used, strive for the creative rather than the mundane.
Grammar Punk Sentence: C E 2
Familiar with her great Aunt Sheila’s caprice for odd hats, Sophie braced herself for the shopping trip.