When it comes to writing I have noticed, with the passing of time, the importance of words. How one word can guide a reader in a different direction, while another word will also take the reader to a different understanding of a story. I have learnt this lesson through experience and my obsession with language. Something that is both rewarding and torture. When a writer uses words that is all they have to take a reader to a particular understanding or place. So that would seem as though language is serious or important . It is easy for a writer to randomly choose words that have several meanings and hope that the reader understands what the writer means. However what is harder is ensuring the reader, who can always make up their own mind, is taken at least somewhat in the direction the writer has intended.
I have learnt this from real life experience. A very simple example is the word ‘activate’. When I changed to a new smart meter for my electricity I was told by electricity supplier that nothing would change as I would need to ‘activate’ my new meter with them. You can only imagine my shock when I was told by the installer of the meter that my new meter would be activated within thirty days. I panicked and wanted the meter removed as the cost using the new smart meter would be excessive in relation to what I was already paying for my electricity.
However after some research and several phone calls later to both the installers company and my electricity supplier I was introduced to a new word, ‘tariff’. It materialized that my tariff would not change after the meter was activated and would only change should I switch to a different electricity supply plan. Which I did not. Something that simple yet very confusing left me stressed for the morning as I imagined my meager means where going to be stretched further.
What had challenged me was the fact that the installer and my electricity supplier used the same word, ‘activate’. Rather than saying nothing would change if I did not change my tariff with my electricity supplier. That is why I consider the use of language to be a serious affair. One simple word as mentioned can take a person (or reader) to different places that may not be the intention of the writer.
So on an ending note. I have a new smart meter for my electricity which is not activated as meant by my electricity supplier. I would contact them to change their wording but it seems pointless. As they will not change something, though confusing, unless others likewise are confused. They do not see that words are important and that they really shouldn’t be using words like ‘activate’ when changing of ‘tariffs’ is more appropriate.