Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The way it ought to be

There is a difference between the words should and ought. The word should tells us what we are expected to do. The word ought goes a step further, adding a hint of guilt.

Examples: You should not hit your sister. OR, You ought not hit your sister. The should implies "Don't do it." The ought implies "lets think about why you are doing this..."

Ought is an old fashioned word. I think it is out of style because the idea of moral obligation seems to have gone out the window as well. It seems a dog eat dog world out there and should is a simpler term, low on overtone, easy on the ears.

BUT, ought is many layered. This is important, this layering of words. It is important for communication purposes (sociology and social interaction) and important for writing. When two people who love one another argue they ought to be concerned with listening to each other. They ought to try to understand the others position, even if the position is not the "right" one. It doesn't really matter who is right or wrong when someone is hurting... or at least it oughtn't.

And sometimes when we are writing, we come across a word or phrase we know needs to impart more than just the black and white set of symbols and lines. It needs to mean two or three things and it would be fantastic if those two or three things are woven into each chapter of what we write so the reader is constantly feeling our undertone.

We ought to take more time to try to communicate with one another. To craft communication and not cut people off with our own opinions. We ought to remember that opinions are just that, they are like Ass----s. Everyone has one.

And... we ought to laugh more. I hope I made you laugh.



  1. In Creative Writing, we were denied dialogue unless we had at least two layers. There is always subtext.

  2. NICE! Ought really is a lovely word!

  3. Where did this post come from? Interesting girl.

    and, yes, I giggled.

  4. Great post! I ought to be writing instead of reading it :)
    I love the fact the we writers get to add our words to the larger conversations of life. It is humbling to remember that they are indeed just our words.

  5. Hi All:

    B: Nice to see you! layers are my thing.
    LT: I know you like words as much as I do ;)
    Mandy: XO
    Tess: Missed you! Have no idea, just random and I think a little strange... hope I didn't offend with it. I think I am on edge about this whole "I will know if I have an agent or not by the end of this week" business.
    Tabitha: Me too! How is it down under by the way?