Old Moon

Monday, November 10, 2008

Speaking of Speaking…

It's discouraging to hear even the most respected pundits—"talking heads" and heads of state—misusing our wonderfully varied and precise language. Does anybody look up a word anymore?

Enormity?! "The quality of passing all moral bounds…" (American Heritage Dictionary.) Nothing whatever to do with size! Granted, perhaps that word could be used to apply to the tasks facing the upcoming administration, but it's to be hoped not! The job is enormous, gargantuan even, daunting certainly, but not yet "a monstrous evil…"

Maybe it's not of great consequence, but hasn't anyone noticed that there really is a difference between "convince" and "persuade?" Between "bring" and "take?"

When I hear the locution, "She went…" to introduce words someone has spoken, I want to scream (not "go")!

I hope the succeeding generation will give up "like" as a hesitant insertion while the speaker is trying to think of how to say exactly what he has in mind.

Language does evolve; we know that, but I hate to think that the only mechanism is vandalism! "Willful or malicious destruction of public or private property." (Ibid.)

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