Author: Nicola Brayan

Every comma I added, split infinitive I repaired, hung preposition I cushioned in noun phrases was proof that I was articulate. Articulate was the last few marks on my English assignments, the judge’s feedback from the debates I won, the glowing words printed on my report card. To be articulate was to be intelligent. To be worth listening to.

When I’m cooking dinner, I’ll hop outside to trim some leaves off my plants, taking care not to thin out the foliage too much, taking from the top, not the bottom. Rinse your herbs well before consuming them. Savour their flavour. The love I cook into my dishes tastes like home-grown basil.

We build meaning with words and the definitions we understand them to have. It’s also hard to have a conversation with a limited set of words — if you want to express something but you don’t have a word for it, your explanation tends to be less precise, less streamlined.