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Add Interest to Your Writing & Speaking Using Oxymorons

When considering a topic for this month’s marketing tip I came across an article written by my friend, Karen Susman and I thought I’d share (with Karen’s permission, of course). You may not realize this but the word oxymoron comes from two Greek words: “oxus” meaning sharp, and “moros” meaning dull – two contradictory words that make no logical sense. Thanks Karen!

Oxymorons are paradoxical statements that erect speed bumps in your brain. They cause you to stop and think, “weird, but true.” Usually you think of oxymorons as two-word combos such as alone together, authentic reproduction, virtual reality, tentative conclusion, random pattern, civil war, or consistent discrepancies.

“Oxymornoica” is a book of paradoxical quotes that takes oxymorons to a whole new level. Besides being fun to read, these quotes can spice up your writing or speaking. Each one could prompt an article, presentation or blog entry. If you can never think of what to tweet, or you’re have nothing interesting to put on Facebook, you can keep in front of your peeps with brain tickling oxymorons. Here are some examples:

“People have one thing in common. They are all different.” Robert Zend

“I shut my eyes in order to see.” Artist Andrew Wyeth

“I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.” Anonymous

“When people are free to do as they please, they imitate each other.” Eric Hoffer

“We have to believe in free will. We’ve got no other choice.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

“If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then nine times out of ten it will.” Paul Harvey

“It’s our farewell performance and I hope the first of many.” Garrison Keillor.

Try creating your own oxymoron. Put two opposing words, thoughts or ideas together. Once I described someone as “genuinely superficial.” She worked tirelessly at her superficiality and she was proud of her accomplishments. You could say she was deeply shallow.

Here’s another paradoxical example. As my weight and my age tussle it out, I no longer strive for the scale to read what it did in my twenties. I just want to get down to the weight I never wanted to get up to.

Oxymorons make you, your reader or listener think, ponder and even laugh. They point out the absurdities around us. Now I know why we always thought it was so funny that our high school teacher, Ms. Little, was about six feet tall while Ms. Big was more Smurf-like.

Karen Susman is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach, and Author of 102 Top Dog Networking Secrets. Karen works with organizations that want to maximize performance. Programs include Humour at Work; Balance In Life; Networking Skills; Presentation Skills; and Building Community Involvement. Order new guidebooks on humour, networking, time management, and community involvement by calling or email [email protected].

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Susan Regier, owner of Vantage One Writing, is an in-demand copywriter, marketing strategist, and business breakthrough specialist to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to have a profitable business they are passionate about. She has the uncanny ability to find the hidden gems in a business that can ignite sales and profits for her clients. Claim your free guide: 15 Tips to Increase Your Influence, Attract More Clients & Make More Money at