There are two meanings for “word.”

One is a single sentence particle. The other is bigger, more expressive.

“I’d like to have a word with you,” says your wife. She doesn’t mean that she wants to take a sentence fragment and eat it along with you, as if for lunch. She’s got something to say, and it’s no fragment (unless you mean the pieces left of your head when she’s done having you for lunch).

But think of how often a single sentence fragment can make a difference in a tense situation.

“Yes.”

“Please.”

Sometimes a single word can take on a life of its own.

Let it.

Take the word darling. (What does ‘to darl’ mean, anyway? And why would I want to?) The dictionary says it is the double diminutive of dear.

Imagine that word coming to life. It would have some things to say to you about your wife, don’t you think?

It’s very small, doubly diminished like that. But its words would be big. Bold words, said loud, about how to treat your wife as special, dearly loved, precious. Can’t you just picture that? I can.

The next time you’re stuck for something to say, try bringing a word to life.

What does it have to say?

What do you have to say?