Forte vs. fort -- there should be a distinction

Forte vs. fort -- there should be a distinction
Sometimes watching or listening to something familiar at an odd time can unearth distinctions to words that were unnoticed before. That’s what happened to me this morning when I had a little time for my personal “Insomnia Theatre.” I was tired of the news, but too tired to sleep, so I put on a rerun... Read more »

A reply to Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune: I have problems with cliched language, too

A reply to Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune: I have problems with cliched language, too
I was delighted by a headline in the Chicago Tribune today (Jan. 15, 2019): “Cliched language is, well, problematic.” For those of you who missed Christopher Borrelli’s column under that headline, here’s a link. (The headline that caught my eye was the print version; the online version contains different, but still bothersome, words.) Borrelli refers to... Read more »

Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!

Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!
I keep thinking of the old, old joke about someone writing a letter: I’m writing this slowly because I know you can’t read very fast. How about the same consideration for listening? I’m speaking slowly because I know you can’t listen any faster. That would work for me, as both a speaker and a listener. So... Read more »
ChicagoNow Video
Advertisement:

You lost me at 'accompanied by dazzling images'

You lost me at 'accompanied by dazzling images'
As I was getting started this morning, I heard an ad for a concert I might have liked. But then it said “accompanied by dazzling images.” I’m out. I can’t even remember what the concert was to be anymore. If you don’t have enough confidence that the music will be the “dazzling” part, concert promoters,... Read more »

Anniversary arithmetic for a new year

Anniversary arithmetic for a new year
I’ve started hearing about new anniversaries coming this year. One radio station I listen to is advertising its anniversary of doing something — not a round number like 100, but significant in a way that one fewer year, as in 2018, would not have been. It reminds me of the first time in 2018 that... Read more »

'FEAR' and New Year's Eve: a poem

'FEAR' and New Year's Eve: a poem
Author’s note: What follows is a tribute to the work of my esteemed colleague and friend, Aquinas Wired, in the style of his outstanding blog, The Quark in the Road. Now it’s December thirty-first and politics seem at their worst. (Do not give yourself a rash, of course I’m aping Ogden Nash.) I’ve read all... Read more »
Advertisement:

Whoops, we have to put '19' back in the year!

Whoops, we have to put '19' back in the year!
Whether I thought of the letters as Christmas cards or year-end ones, depending on who would get them, I tried to follow my usual habit of writing “Happy (year number)” instead of just “Happy New Year.”  I like that for myself when I’m looking at old cards — if someone’s wishing me a happy 1987,... Read more »

How to answer 'Happy holidays' or other season's greetings

How to answer 'Happy holidays' or other season's greetings
I hope you’ll get the greetings you want over the next few days. I suppose I will; meanwhile, my thoughts on returning the greetings are changing. I used to worry about whether to reply to “Happy holidays” by saying “Happy holidays to you,” “Merry Christmas” (my preference) or something else. But then I tried a... Read more »

Have some empathy -- but empathically or empathetically?

Have some empathy -- but empathically or empathetically?
(Author/editor’s note: My thanks to Dr. L.W., my onetime teacher and present-day good friend, for this fine idea of which word to defend.) I have been asked to look for the difference between empathic and empathetic — both relating to the word empathy. At first glance I couldn’t tell which word needed more defending. Here’s what... Read more »
Advertisement:

This year's -- in January? You missed it, then

This year's -- in January? You missed it, then
The middle of December’s almost here, but I just heard a reference on TV to something happening “this year” in January. No, I hadn’t missed it. The event was coming up in January 2019. Let’s all be careful out there — “this year” means 2018. If you mean the future and want to say something... Read more »