Verily I Say Unto Thee... archive
Tag : words

How Many Ways Can You Spell ‘Nox’?

Categories: Fixing English
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2017.11.29

Two hundred twenty is the answer I came up with. “Nox”, of course, is the Roman goddess of the night. But more than that, it’s a sound — and the simplest way to spell that sound in English.   220 Variations These are the 220 variations of “nox” I came up with. (Copyright © 2017[…]

Why I’ve Been Using The Word ‘Regressive’

You might have noticed a recent change in word choice on my part. I’m not sure when, but a few months ago I began using “regressive” in places where I had formerly used the word “conservative”. This was an intentional choice. As always, I attempt to select the most accurate, precise words, both in my[…]

A Father’s Shrinking Vocabulary

Categories: Notes on Fatherhood
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2015.11.01

My daughter impersonates Richard Nixon during a recent hike to the top of Enchanted Rock (Copyright © 2015 by Wil C. Fry.) It suddenly struck me a few days ago that my vocabulary has shrunk to a few dozen words. Ever since my oldest child began understanding just a few words, my repertoire of verbal[…]

Words That Bug Me: Doubled-Up Abbreviations

Categories: Words That Bug Me
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.07.09

Remember the “FBI: Female Body Inspector” T-shirts? I first saw one in the 1980s, and I know they were still for sale in the late 1990s (edit: and they are still for sale). That’s not what I’m talking about; it’s just a sexist joke on a shirt. I’m talking about when an abbreviation already exists[…]

Words That Bug Me: Changing Definitions

Categories: Words That Bug Me
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.02.17

Words that used to have multiple meaning but now just have one, or words that used to have a neutral connotation but now are inextricably tied to the negative connotation — these irritate me mainly because most of us have, at best, a tenuous grasp of the language, and it doesn’t help that words keep[…]

Words That Bug Me: ‘Kiddos’

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2013.12.10

“Kiddos” has been around for a while. The Oxford English Dictionary (here) and other online resources say it’s just an informal “friendly or slightly condescending form of address”. I’m fine with that definition. My complaint is about when parents use the term for their children: “Here’s a picture of the kiddos”, they’ll say with a[…]

Words That Bug Me: “Out Of” In Sports

Categories: Sports, Words That Bug Me
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 2012.12.29

I’ve you’ve watched or listened to a sports event broadcast lately, you’ve heard at least one of the commentators say “out of” when they meant “from”. It’s getting worse, and it bugs the hell out of me. “James Johnson, the quarterback, is out of Billings, Montana”, they’ll say. I’ve got news for them. Unless the[…]

Words That Bug Me: ‘Price Point’

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2012.08.12

Yes, I’ve been watching too many episodes of ‘House Hunters’. But it bugs me when people say “price point” when they mean price range, or simply price.

Words That Bug Me: Piracy

Categories: Words That Bug Me
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: 2012.05.26

Today’s English (and, I assume, other languages) is peppered with old words that have been given new meaning, either by marketing campaigns or by the news media. Sometimes the new meanings come from the slang of youth, song writers, or authors. I’m not sure how or when “piracy” took on its new meaning, but I[…]

Words That Bug Me: Poorly Shortened Words

Comments: 5 Comments
Published on: 2012.05.26

One of my many pet peeves is shortened words. Well, words or phrases that are shortened poorly. For example, cellular telephone has been shortened to cell in the U.S. Fortunately, many people actually say phone, which is much better. Why? Phone already means telephone. Cell, on the other hand, never meant telephone. It referred to[…]

Removing Testiness From Tests

Categories: Education, InTheNews
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2012.03.30

(Referencing the story found on ABC News and the NY Post.) The New York city public school system is trying to make tests less “biased” and less likely to “evoke unpleasant emotions” in school children. One of the ways they’re doing this is banning a list of words, including birthdays, junk food, Halloween, dinosaur, dancing,[…]

Fixing The English Language

Categories: Fixing English
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2005.04.23

[Begun April 23, 2005. Never finished or polished.] Every child born and raised in the United States has asked about it at least once, except maybe those who are born vegetables. And every person from a foreign land who tries to learn English (even British English) wonders about it as well. “Why does the English[…]

Words Aren’t ‘Bad’

(Originally Published Oct. 12, 2003, as part of my “Off-Center Thoughts”) According to society some words are “bad” words. We’ve known this since we were young children. It’s bull crap, I say. How can a word itself be evil? Most of these words consist of four letters, in the English language, thus the euphemism, “four-letter[…]

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