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Stupid Question #397: Alternates for "driver"

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

OK, stupid question, but can anyone think of alternates for "driver"? My various thesauruses were less than helpful, suggesting such useful terms as "automobilist"!!! They also list "jockey", "chauffeur", "coachman", "hack" and "whip"!

I have the following segment in a story, and want to eliminate the duplicate "driver":

"This one driver threatened not only her son, but three separate people by her irresponsible driving."

"I'll admit the driver was reckless. She never even slowed down."


Can anyone think of any more modern alternatives (at least something from the 20th Century)?

Grant

Driver is the appropriate word.
The only other option I can think of would be "I'll admit that person was reckless. She never even slowed down."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Driver is the appropriate word.

The only other option I can think of would be "I'll admit that person was reckless. She never even slowed down."

You'd think, after more than a century of driving cars, we'd have come up with a few decent alternatives by now. "Automobilist"? Really?

Took your advice, Grant. I changed it o:

"I'll admit the woman was reckless. She never even slowed down."

That works because her sex was already established, even though she was never identified.

Ha-ha, technically, I should use "supposed woman".

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Can anyone think of any more modern alternatives (at least something from the 20th Century)?


The best modern option if you really want to avoid driver is motorist.

Motorist is uncommon and at least in my neck of the woods (upper mid-west US) is mostly used by the government.

The only other terms I can think of would be either commercial drivers (chauffeur, cabbie, trucker) or derogatory (leadfoot, road hog).

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son

I don't think I've ever heard the term "motorist" used in spoken dialogue anywhere other than a drivers' exam. The commercial terms don't apply, since this was a single woman driving an SUV in a residential neighborhood. (I was going for the paradox of a woman driver almost running over another woman's child, and supposedly knowing better because she's a potential mother herself.)

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

For Golf, a one wood, or maybe a two. We could ask SmokinDriver which he uses. For Railroads, an engineer. For airplanes, a pilot, or co pilot. For ships a helmsman or helmswoman (got to be politically correct although I never heard helmswoman in real life.) For police reports, operator, or vehicle operator. For union truckers, a teamster. That is a little farfetched, but its a teamster's union. For swimming pools, a diver. (a real stretch.) Or lifeguard. For a young male bus operator, a bus boy. On a busman's holiday? If racing, a racer. There is a joke about blowing a shofar but requires some Yiddish to understand its a kind of horn, not a chauffeur. If the car is stopped maybe a parker. Parkway or turnpike user?

Automobilist? Mobile equipment operator? My bodyguard took me home in my Mercedes?

I am sorry, the person who drives is a driver unless it is a peculiar or specialized vehicle. Or some other word better describes why he is behind the wheel. Bank robbers have wheelmen, to drive the car. Once computers handle getting from place to place in driverless cars, driver may become less ubiquitous. (Thank god for spell check, I don't know how to spell ubiquitous to save my life.) Until going for a ride in an auto replaces going for a drive, we are mostly stuck with driver. Or you could go watch the submarine races, make-out in a automobile because you are parking. Nosey Parker.

Replies:   Grant
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I don't think I've ever heard the term "motorist" used in spoken dialogue anywhere other than a drivers' exam.


Probably true for spoken dialog. I have seen it used in academic research on traffic issues.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

The best modern option if you really want to avoid driver is motorist.


It's more a UK term, than a US term.

Grant
Updated:

@richardshagrin

I am sorry, the person who drives is a driver unless it is a peculiar or specialized vehicle.


Motorbike; rider or motorcyclist. The passenger is a pillion (or the bitch on the back, depending on the riders). Both are sometimes referred to as "potential organ donors" by hospital staff.

Pushbike rider; rider or cyclist.

Both types can be called many other things depending on the level of stupidity displayed when in traffic.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The commercial terms don't apply, since this was a single woman driving an SUV in a residential neighborhood.


Maybe you can use a word to describe her and not her activity eg.

The soccer mom wasn't paying attention while driving her son down the road ... etc using a term suitable for the character.

Or one for the way she drove..

She drove like an old woman with dementia ... etc

shinerdrinker

@Crumbly Writer

I find myself really going for profanity in the first use of "driver."

Since I'm not too sure of the context, I'll leave it in your capable hands.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@shinerdrinker

I find myself really going for profanity in the first use of "driver."

Since I'm not too sure of the context, I'll leave it in your capable hands.

The first speaker was a newspaper reporter, interviewing the second speaker, who was the primary witness in the incident. The newsman wouldn't curse about a potential story, while the witness was playing down his role in the incident, not wanting the story to be written in the first place. (i.e. the witness is downplaying it, while the reporter is being polite while provocative.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Geez! I'm having trouble with my Thesauruses today. How about an alternative to "news source". The Thesauruses list hundreds of alternatives, yet don't have no entry specifically for "news source" or "source of information". Honestly, I'm having a lot more trouble with researching words than I normally do.

The story segment is:

"I'm sure his mother is thankful, but quoting another source, 'you ran out of the house and into the street without concern for your own safety'."

"And which source might that be?"

Typically, when one character repeats something another character says, I rephrase it, so I don't keep repeating the same things over and over. "And which origin might that be?" clearly doesn't work.

Edit: Replacing "who that might be" doesn't work either, as it makes it a much weaker sentence, turning a question about a reporter's professionalism into blaming a victim.

Normally, when I discover a word which can't be substituted, I'll leave it, but I have trouble believing there aren't alternatives to these.

Replies:   Grant  Dominions Son
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

Normally, when I discover a word which can't be substituted, I'll leave it

And that is the case in this instance.

One person quotes a reference, the other is asking which reference they're referring to.
One person quotes a paper, the other is asking which paper they're referring to.
One person quotes a TV channel, the other is asking which TV channel they're referring to.
etc.

Why would someone questioning another about their origin for information use a different word to reference it? It just wouldn't make sense.

"but quoting another reference, 'you ran out of the house and into the street without concern for your own safety'."

"And which source might that be?"

"but quoting another source, 'you ran out of the house and into the street without concern for your own safety'."

"And which reference might that be?"


It makes no sense.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


The story segment is:


"I'm sure his mother is thankful, but quoting another source, 'you ran out of the house and into the street without concern for your own safety'."

"And which source might that be?"




Witness might work in this case. But I would replace both, not mix source with witness.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son

After considering it, I went in another direction:

"I'm sure his mother is thankful, but quoting another source, 'you ran out of the house and into the street without concern for your own safety'."

"And who told you that?"


It's not quite as strong, but he's still challenging the reporter's ethics, which serves the purpose.

Not sure why these two cases threw me so much. The chapter has several duplicate phrases, many of which I left intact because there wasn't an alternative, but these two just bugged me. There was simply no reason I couldn't come up with an alternative.

I love my thesauruses, but many times, they're absolutely useless!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I love my thesauruses, but many times, they're absolutely useless!


thesaurus=book of extinct words. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

thesaurus=book of extinct words.

Correction. Thesaurus: A book of incomplete lists. They provide plenty of words, but your choice of those word lists is extremely limited, and they often contain absolutely useless terms.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Correction.


:-P

It's a play on the phonetic similarity between dinosaur names and thesaurus; tyrannosaurus, apatosaurus, thesaurus

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd
Updated:

@Dominions Son


dinosaur names and thesaurus; tyrannosaurus, apatosaurus, thesaurus


Years ago I was news editor for an eastern Utah newspaper. That put me in frequent contact with the Dinosaur Museum director, an elderly man who spoke with a thick German accent. He had a puckish sense of humor. He explained to me that all major Dinosaurs belonged to the "sore ass" classification.

"??" I stared at him.

"Yah, der is de Tyranno-sore-ass, de Bronto-sore-ass, de Stego..."

He and I were good friends for the few years I worked there, before moving on to a larger city.

The Slim Rhino
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


"This one driver threatened not only her son, but three separate people by her irresponsible driving."

"I'll admit the driver was reckless. She never even slowed down."


why not replace the first occurence of driver with 'woman behind the wheel'? Since you have the word driving in the sentence you can fill in pretty much everything. Since we know she's driving recklessly, we already know that she's a driver...

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@The Slim Rhino

why not replace the first occurence of driver with 'woman behind the wheel'?


Or even just woman, though either way, that may come across as she threatened her own son.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Or even just woman, though either way, that may come across as she threatened her own son.

Good point, that wasn't clear from the included text.

Clarification: The "threatened not only her son" refers to the person pushing the issue by demanding more attention of reckless driving which first brought it to the reporter's attention. She's separate from the reckless woman driver. I might use "woman" for "This one driver threatened not only the woman's son, but ...". That clarifies a possibly confusing sentence.

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@Grant

This discussion is reminiscent of how those that searched for alternatives to 'said' used to be. If you've found the best word for the context, readers won't be annoyed if it's repeated. In fact they will probably be more annoyed if you go out of your way to employ less suitable synonyms.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

This discussion is reminiscent of how those that searched for alternatives to 'said' used to be. If you've found the best word for the context, readers won't be annoyed if it's repeated. In fact they will probably be more annoyed if you go out of your way to employ less suitable synonyms.

As I said, I don't object to repeating words when it's necessary, but simply having one character repeating something just said seems needlessly redundant, so I tend to rephrase the terms slightly, to make it less repetitive.

But I'll often write segments based on science principals. In those instances, I'll often reuse the same terms/phrases over and over, simply because there's no way to avoid it. That's just a fact of life, but simply duplicating what was just said seems ... lazy.

Replies:   Grant
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The "threatened not only her son" refers to the person pushing the issue by demanding more attention of reckless driving which first brought it to the reporter's attention.


I knew that was the intent and it was reasonably clear using driver. However, if you substitute woman for driver it would become unclear, so it would need a bit more rewording.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I knew that was the intent and it was reasonably clear using driver. However, if you substitute woman for driver it would become unclear, so it would need a bit more rewording.

I understand, and you have a good point, but since I replaced the second "driver" in the second paragraph, I think I'm clear while also avoiding the repetition.

As far as confusion between which woman I'm referring to, the role of the two women was pretty well established before this particular segment occurs.

Grant

@Crumbly Writer

The first speaker was a newspaper reporter, interviewing the second speaker, who was the primary witness in the incident.


As I said, I don't object to repeating words when it's necessary, but simply having one character repeating something just said seems needlessly redundant,


Hopefully a reporter would be repeating the words used by a witness, otherwise they wouldn't be reporting the story, they'd be making up their own version of it.

If the reporter mis-quoted the witness I'd expect the witness to correct them, and the reporter to confirm that correction.

I agree, seeing the same word used repeatedly can become annoying, but in this case it's not. It's what you would expect in normal everyday dialog between 2 people in this situation.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant


Hopefully a reporter would be repeating the words used by a witness, otherwise they wouldn't be reporting the story, they'd be making up their own version of it.


Reporters have the option to either give a direct quote, and state it as such, or to give a summary and identify it as such. there are times when a summary is better than a quote.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

Reporters have the option to either give a direct quote, and state it as such, or to give a summary and identify it as such. there are times when a summary is better than a quote.

True.
But when interviewing the person they'd hopefully be getting the facts, before they try to summarise things.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

If the reporter mis-quoted the witness I'd expect the witness to correct them, and the reporter to confirm that correction.

In this scene, it's a case of 'Gonzo Journalism', where the reporter reveals something, just to entice someone to respond so they can hit them with something else, purposely making them look bad.

Also, this is spoken dialogue, where the reporter is repeating quotes reading from his notes. However, that doesn't mean the person he's interviewing needs to use the same language.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

they'd hopefully be getting the facts,


That was the way it was up to about 1950, but not since then, so why try to establish an old trend the media feel is outdated?

And, sorry, this is a statement of observed fact, not an attempt at humour. Look at some of the stuff the media said during, and about, the military conflicts of the last 60 years.

Replies:   Dominions Son  graybyrd
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

And, sorry, this is a statement of observed fact, not an attempt at humour. Look at some of the stuff the media said during, and about, the military conflicts of the last 60 years.


Or better yet, read any story where you have direct personal knowledge. You will find they get 90% of the facts wrong. If they get everything you know about wrong, what makes you think they get anything else right?

Replies:   Grant
graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

That was the way it was up to about 1950, but not since then


Sorry, Ernest ... I can't let this go. Too broad a brush, and paint's gettin' slopped a bit too carelessly. As far as up to about 1950 you're overlooking Hearst and those before him. As for condemning all media, one nice example of print press courage is the Pentagon Papers, and for tube media, we have the McCarthy hearings.

The media reflects its owners. There have been some exceedingly courageous and dedicated ones, and some pretty disgraceful ones.

One trend I'll agree with you on, is the trend to mega-corporation ownership of media. That bodes ill for all of us. Corporations are by nature amoral; that conflicts with every principle of press freedoms.

My greatest fear is not the pandering dreck we read and view; no, my greatest fear concerns the stories that we never get to see or read.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

Or better yet, read any story where you have direct personal knowledge. You will find they get 90% of the facts wrong.

I've found it to be about 50/50. There's been the odd occasion where it was mostly correct, and another where it was mostly wrong, but overall it's been 50/50 for stories I've read or seen on the news that I knew about first or second hand.

The major issue though is which bits they get wrong or right. Sometimes they stuff up on minor things. Other times it's the very facts of the matter.

Grant

@graybyrd

The media reflects its owners.

That is one of the other problems.
Over the years, many news companies would have their own reporters not only in major centres, but also in many smaller ones.
These days it's pretty much just the major centres, and pretty much all the stories from smaller places come from a single source. It's generally only if there's some huge issue that you'll find more than one view on many day to day stories.

richardshagrin

@Grant

If they rewarded journalists for getting their facts right, instead of for getting stories done quickly and in a way to add readers by sensationalizing and simplifying we might find more accuracy. I am not aware of any newspaper writer or editor sanctioned in any way for getting things wrong. Even the Chicago paper that announced Dewey was elected, instead of Truman, continued to print what it wanted for years.

A free press has freedom for the owner of the press, to print nearly anything he wants.

Replies:   graybyrd  Dominions Son
graybyrd

@richardshagrin

A free press has freedom for the owner of the press, to print nearly anything he wants.


Believe it or not, I once had a district FAA official tell me that the problem with freedom (this was concerning Idaho mountain pilots) was that they soon came to think they were free to do whatever the hell they wanted!

Freedom is great, as long as people don't get the notion they can color outside the lines.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

If they rewarded journalists for getting their facts right, instead of for getting stories done quickly and in a way to add readers by sensationalizing and simplifying we might find more accuracy.


The problem is, large scale new operations take a lot of money to run. They have to be funded somehow.

Not enough people are willing to actually pay for well done, well researched news.

About the only other option from what we have now would be government funding, but that would put the government in control and that would be even worse.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Not enough people are willing to actually pay for well done, well researched news.


You know, I could live with a news service that does limited research on a subject, as long as they verify what they do research and present. What I don't like is when they deliberately restrict the research to only one aspect to bias it in a direction they want. And what's worse is when they deliberately lie about what they're presenting to push their own hidden agenda when they know the full truth.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

You know, I could live with a news service that does limited research on a subject


They do zero research, because that's all people are willing to pay for. Once you get past the local news, most news is a mix of barely disguised press releases and softball interviews.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Once you get past the local news, most news is a mix of barely disguised press releases and softball interviews.


Don't forget the heavily biased political bovine excreta.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Lets go with the Trumans and call it manure. That's what Harry did because Bess wanted it that way.

Locally (Seattle) our sports reporters almost never interview softball players. They interview baseball (hard ball) players, although the Seattle Mariners, most years, can't be accused of playing it very well.

red61544

@Crumbly Writer

"This one driver threatened not only her son, but three separate people by her irresponsible driving."

The woman behind the wheel not only threatened her son but three others by her irresponsible driving.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Grant


I've found it to be about 50/50. There's been the odd occasion where it was mostly correct, and another where it was mostly wrong, but overall it's been 50/50 for stories I've read or seen on the news that I knew about first or second hand.


Getting back on topic (since I'm not sure how much this was directed (by Grant) at my representation of the reporter), in my sample, it's an issue with a single reporter, and after this, another reporter cranks it up a notch, making the first reporter look like the nice guy.

I wasn't writing it as an attack on Gonzo Journalism (a product of the 1960s), but simply highlighting how each reporter has a different approach, some sympathetic, and some a bit more devious (i.e. you initially think they're on your side, only to learn later they're trying to pillory you).

@richardshagrin

A free press has freedom for the owner of the press, to print nearly anything he wants.


Or, putting it into more recent context, they're free to put everything single outrageous thing Trump says, while paying scant attention to major speeches by every other candidate for office.

@DS

Not enough people are willing to actually pay for well done, well researched news.


Case in points, the most through papers in the country, like the NY Times and the Chicago Tribune, are both struggling financially, cutting their research staffs significantly while trying to find new income sources, while sources like FOX, which specialize in repeating unsustainable reports (aka. Obama being a Muslim) draw millions of readers for largely scurrilous (yes, they report news the other stations won't, but they're not know for their well-researched opinions).

@Red61544

The woman behind the wheel not only threatened her son but three others by her irresponsible driving.


That works, but it seems to distance the subject. It's no longer "the driver responsible", but merely "the person behind the wheel who just happened to be in the car at the time.

It's an example of "passive vs. active verbs" (or nouns in this case). I think I'm happy with my solution (changing the other "driver" reference to "I'll admit [the woman] was reckless.".

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