DEMOTIC: pertaining to the common people

I ran across the word demotic while reading the recent posting of John McIntyre in his blog You Don’t Say. Demotic is a word used with some regularity, it would seem, in the world of linguistics.  It means “common language” as opposed to “formal language.”   Over decades and centuries of use language changes.   Formal usages […]

WHINGE: to complain or whine

I’m thankful to my colleague, John McIntyre, for the word whinge which came up in one of his postings a couple of weeks ago.   It’s a great word, available to writers who tire of the day-to-day words to describe a  phenomenon.    How easy would it be for a writer to say, “She just couldn’t stop […]

RETICENT: hesitant, reluctant

Reticent is one of those words that can by misconstrued easily.   I was reading John McIntyre’s blog posting for Saturday in which he distinguishes between refute and rebut. He is absolutely right that there is a big difference between the two words.  One is an act of confrontation and the other is an act of […]

NOES: the plural form of the word “no”

In a recent article I read the report of someone who was making the case that the Republicans in Congress are the” Party of No!” It is a  criticism which we have heard numerous times over the past eighteen months of the Obama administration.  Clearly, it is a technique decided upon and organized by the […]

COCKING A SNOOK: to show that you do not respect something or someone by doing something that insults them

I’m told there’s a blogging tradition which involves building upon an existing post on someone else’s blog.  I hope I’m right, because today I’m using the same title  that John McIntyre uses today on his blog, You Don’t Say. As I’ve told you before, it’s the first blog I check out every day.  Without ever […]

EDITOR’S EYE: the ability to catch written problems that will confuse the reader

Ever since I began writing this blog in October, 2009, I have been increasingly exposed to the realm of editing.   I was vaguely aware of the profession before then, but of late I have become personally involved as I befriended editors of all stripes and began to hear their stories.  Unfortunately, the primary story they […]