It's gonna be one of those days. :P
Exact, precise, minutely accurate.--John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808
Death of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), whose novel The Deerslayer Mark Twain ridiculed in 1895, primarily for Cooper's imprecise word choices. Twain specified more than thirty such poor decisions, from the substitution of verbal for oral to the use of mortified instead of disappointed. He elaborated, comparing writing with music making: "Cooper's word-sense was singularly dull. When a person has a poor ear for music he will flat and sharp right along without knowing it. He keeps near the tune, but is not the tune. When a person has a poor ear for words, the result is a literary flatting and sharping; you perceive what he is intending to say, but you also perceive that he does not say it. ... [Cooper's] ear was satisfied with the approximate words." After this barrage, Twain summed up his disapproval: "The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter -- it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn't step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn't satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can't do it, go and borrow one.