Archive for December 2015

Christmas carols with words worth defending

Christmas carols with words worth defending
Hark! There, you thought I was going to start a Christmas carol right away, didn’t you? Some words don’t get out much until it’s Christmastime, and “hark” is one of the big ones. But while we don’t harken unto much any more, “listen” just doesn’t fit when it comes to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”... Read more »

What's the name of his other leg? (An editing lesson from 'Mary Poppins')

What's the name of his other leg? (An editing lesson from 'Mary Poppins')
Do you get ideas about language or writing when you’re not expecting them? I do, so I’m happy to have a chance to share them. On a recent Saturday night, I watched Disney’s “Mary Poppins” on Channel 7 (ABC-TV). I sang along much of the time. Being “of a certain age,” I haven’t seen the... Read more »

A 'Wise and Wonderful' description by James Herriot

A 'Wise and Wonderful' description by James Herriot
When you describe something, it helps to compare or contrast it with something your readers or listeners will understand. James Herriot knew that, and he did it to great effect in his third book, “All Things Wise and Wonderful” (St. Martin’s Press, 1977). In Chapter 37, he described a terrier with a Yorkshire term, a... Read more »
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James Herriot's stories can be Sustaining -- and Tricki, too

James Herriot's stories can be Sustaining -- and Tricki, too
Some of the stories in “All Creatures Great and Small” and its sequels (by James Herriot, beginning in 1972) are wild-animal or farm-animal-centered — but some of the better and funnier stories involve the “small animals” (i.e., pets) in his veterinary practice. They’re a big reason I love the stories and count them among my... Read more »

Isn't that adorable? Er, nope!

Isn't that adorable? Er, nope!
Maybe it’s my aversion to hero worship, or maybe it’s just my general dislike of sloppy usage. For whatever reason, I’ve had it with the frequent use of the word “adorable.” I think it’s a word worth avoiding. Not only that, but it has similar words (but not exact synonyms) which are worth defending —... Read more »