Archive for April 2020

William Safire defending the word 'hopefully' and doing it hopefully

William Safire defending the word 'hopefully' and doing it hopefully
I’ve been trying to assert that the word “hopefully” has become a stage direction instead of an adverb. MARGARET (hopefully): Oh, please, readers, use this word well! When I read “On Language” and left myself sticky bookmarks to get back to the great entries, I found that William Safire was on my side in this... Read more »

William Safire on the origins of 'Have a nice day!'

William Safire on the origins of 'Have a nice day!'
William Safire died in 2009, but I think he may be looking on happily from heaven’s library at our new conversation-enders, “Stay safe” and/or “Stay healthy.” If he were here, he’d be delighted to hear what I’m hearing — the noticeable lack of that mainstay of recent decades, “Have a nice day!” In Safire’s book... Read more »

'Virtual' is not the same as 'online' -- let's keep the distinction

'Virtual' is not the same as 'online' -- let's keep the distinction
Author’s note: Thank you to my reader, good friend, and former teacher Dr. LRW for this idea based on misuse and shifting meanings of the word “virtual” in these┬ádays. I have written elsewhere of the differences between virtual and verbal, but I am more troubled now by growing misuse of the word virtual. We’re having... Read more »
Advertisement:

Safire 'On Language' - alternate and alternative

Safire 'On Language' - alternate and alternative
William Safire, the great language columnist who defended and described the English language so well in his columns and books, could sometimes slip up and use a word badly. Even in his books, such as “On Language,” he was wise and humble enough to use his own errors to explain how he’d erred and counsel... Read more »

Don't get mad when you're asked 'Where did you see it last?'

Don't get mad when you're asked 'Where did you see it last?'
If you lose things often, you may get upset when get asked where you saw or had the lost item last. Of course, if you knew exactly, your search would be over. But try to think of the question as a hint to your hunt. I couldn’t find my reading glasses this morning. Luckily, I... Read more »

Masks, banks, and something I never thought I'd need to say on Jan. 1: Should I take my mask off?

Masks, banks, and something I never thought I'd need to say on Jan. 1: Should I take my mask off?
If my private diary had categories the way this blog does, I think every year would have a category called I Never Thought of This Until Now. Tonight will have the first entry in that category for 2020. I had to go to the bank for the first time since the public advisory to wear... Read more »
Advertisement:

William Safire 'On Language' - my hero among logophiles

William Safire 'On Language' - my hero among logophiles
When my fellow blogger Marianne Goss offered some editing books, as I mentioned in a previous post, one of them I brought home was “On Language” by William Safire (New York, TIMES BOOKS, 1980). I recognized quickly that this book, a collection of definitions (and letters from readers) culled from his New York Times language... Read more »

Dad's question: What can you do with what you already have?

When it comes to missing people these days, I had about a year’s head start. “All of this,” closings, stay-at-home orders and all, began just after the first anniversary of my father’s death. The political moves and the logical and scientific announcements (accurate or not) often leave me thinking I want to talk to him... Read more »

An imaginary meeting about a real emergency in my Imaginary Writers' Room

An imaginary meeting about a real emergency in my Imaginary Writers' Room
Last night, I dreamt I went to the Imaginary Writers’ Room again. (How’s that, Daphne?) When my dreams calmed down enough to let me get to the writers’ room in my imagination, there was a familiar-looking sign on the door: “Urgent Meeting! Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.” I didn’t... Read more »
Advertisement: