words words words

I'm tossing words around a lot lately as I write, choosing, shaping, alliterating, trying to be accurate as well as entertaining and informative.  There are some words I don't tend to use that I notice other people do and I admire them for it.  I have a friend who says "task".  That is so cool.  I say "job".  Think of Melanie Griffith in the movie WORKING GIRL who made herself say t.a.s.k. very clearly, emphasizing the k.  Canadian writer June Callwood (1924-2007 ) used to say "splendid".  I love that word and I don't use it.  I say great or lovely, not nearly as...splendid.  There was a fad  thirty or forty years ago - I'll check it soon- oh, it was 60 years ago!! - A discussion arose in academic circles about the differences between  U and non-U words.  U stood for Upper Class, non-U was not lower class, but Middle.  English author Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) published an essay, "The English Aristocracy" in 1954, and the debate went on.  If you look it up online you can find a whole list of U and non-U words. I can remember some of them. Curtains were U; drapes were non-U; writing paper was U; note-paper was non-U. Looking glass was U; mirror was non-U.  Rich was U; wealthy was non-U; die was U; pass on was non-U.    I have my own preferences along those lines.  I prefer to say tuxedo, not tux, invitation, not invite.  I hate the word "tasty" because of a commercial I heard on radio long ago:

"Ladies! Want to give your hubbies a tasty treat?"  No! I turned it off.  

The American poet John Ciardi (1916-1986 ) had a column in Saturday Review/World mainly  about words ("Manner of Speaking").  He was classified as an etymologist and later published two books, devoted to etymology, "The Browser's Dictionary"(1980) and The Second Browser's Dictionary"(1983).  These are still available online for too much money, more than I can spend. Fun, though.  I loved the way the poet played with words but held them in such respect and emphasized the need for accuracy in their use.    

We should all be so respectful.