Independence Day is here. I want to write and talk and hear about it as itself, not as “the holiday.” But that ‘s how I’m hearing and reading about it more and more often. As it approached, I kept hearing about “the Fourth of July holiday,” or just “the holiday period,” but not why we’re celebrating.
Are people try to keep from offending others with the way they speak? If so, it’s not working — I am offended. “The holiday” has been Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, and plenty of other days. Now “the holiday” is Independence Day.
As far as I can tell, talking and writing about “the Fourth of July” was once an attempt to keep talking about Independence Day without giving it a title. For example, a riddle I liked when I was small was “Do they have the Fourth of July in Britain?” Its answer: “Of course they do, or they’d never see July 5.” (They just don’t celebrate Independence Day.)
But if that was the way to put some variety into talking and writing about Independence Day, it’s taken over and nudged out the name of, well, the holiday. But hey, I had “Independence Day” in the sentence to tell you which holiday.
So if you ask me “What are you doing for the holiday?,” expect a blank stare. I’ll answer when you bother to specify which holiday you’re asking about.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
Declare your fondness for words — subscribe today! Use the button above and follow the prompts or add your e-mail address to the box below. I never send prompts, and you may secede — I mean unsubscribe — at any time.