Archive for October 2020

What to call a detective story that's not a 'whodunnit'

What to call a detective story that's not a 'whodunnit'
While dealing with my recent logjam of writing ideas, I’ve been reading a very good novel, “The Black Ascot” by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge is working on a murder case, but I can’t call it a “whodunnit.” I’ve seen enough of the crime to know Rutledge is on the right track. This crime happened... Read more »

Writer's block or logjam?

Writer's block or logjam?
I can’t decide what to write — something more from “A Civil Tongue” or something more from “On Language,” maybe? I’ve rediscovered a great biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and found out that it has an epigram by T.S. Eliot and a wonderful chapter about the disappearance of Agatha Christie — in other words, I... Read more »

I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years

I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years
As November comes hurtling tpward us, I keep hearing about things with seasons or series that last through this year and next — the ’20-’21 seasons. Of course, that’s hard to hear any differently from things that are happening completely next year, 2021. At least it’s hard to hear if you pronounce it the way... Read more »
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The Beatitudes -- or The Happinesses?

The Beatitudes -- or The Happinesses?
I recently heard a sermon at my home church which mentioned the Beatitudes — the verses of the Sermon on the Mount which, in English translations from the the King James to the Revised Standard Version, begin “Blessed are…” various people for unexpected reasons. I struggled with my pastor’s interpretation of each of the blessings... Read more »

Edwin Newman on 'the hopefully disease'

Edwin Newman on 'the hopefully disease'
In his lively book about the English language, “A Civil Tongue,” former newsman Edwin Newman describes what he called “the hopefully disease.” Since the book’s publication in 1975, the word “hopefully” has continued to be misused so badly that I have been feeling rather lonely in supporting its proper use — to my way of... Read more »

'I'm OK with that' is not OK with me!

'I'm OK with that' is not OK with me!
I’ve done it again. I just looked at the Chicago Tribune sports section and got worried needlessly. A headline today (Oct. 3) read “Cubs’ Ross OK with Game 2 postponement.” I admit it, I haven’t followed the Cubs lately as much as I did during their World Series run, so I didn’t know straightaway that... Read more »
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