During a recent conversation, my father and I discussed our irritation with the frequent use of the word suppose.
Suppose is an everyday conversation-filler, even on TV.
Dad wondered aloud about the word’s real definition, and that was my cue to go to my trusty Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary and look for it.
I found a transitive verb (“suppose A equals B”); an intransitive verb (“to formulate a supposition or opinion”); a noun (“a supposition; position without proof”); and an adjective, supposed (“regarded as true, genuine, etc., without actual knowledge” or “merely imagined”).
That’s three parts of speech. Versatile, eh?
Maybe it’s too versatile: The verb has four more definitions after “suppose A equals B,” and then it has a list of 17 synonyms, from “assume” and “regard” to “consider” and (least usefully) “presuppose.”
I’m not implying (another synonym) that we should ban suppose. I wouldn’t presume (yet another synonym) to do that.
But I imagine (still another synonym) that my vocabulary will be better without the over-used suppose.
Variety is not only more precise than lack of variety; it’s more beautiful — and more fun.
So I’m not going to expect or obligate you (two more synonyms) — you’re not supposed to stop using it.
Just consider (one more synonym) avoiding “suppose” and replacing it with some of these synonyms. Will your vocabulary get better? I suppose so!
For more fun with words, stop by the Margaret Serious page on Facebook.
Suppose you try this: Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Words worth avoiding