VALUE JUDGMENT: a statement which declares something to be “right” or “wrong” ; a personal preference portrayed as a standard

As children we were constantly receiving value judgments from parents, teachers, neighbors, or anyone who thought they had the right to influence our choices. No, don’t eat that.  It’s bad. Good little boys don’t do that. We never say that in public. You must always do what your teacher says. Good writers never use that […]

NICHE: an appropriate place for one to settle

I always thought the word was pronounced [neesh.]   It seemed as if it was a special variation on the word nitch, which I thought was a real word.  It turns out that there is no such word as nitch.   The correct word is niche and it means what I thought nitch meant.   It is that […]

SACRIFICE: an offering of something of value as a benefit to someone or something else*

Let me start this posting with a list: David inconveniences himself regularly for his wife, Melissa, as a sign of love Mom and Dad forgo a special night out to attend a backyard drama staged by their children Dustin Pedroia hits into the hands of the left fielder so Jacoby Ellsbury can score from 3rd […]

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE: an idiom meaning “not important”

The English language is full of idioms, small phrases which have a peculiar meaning when used in a specific context.  Neither here nor there is one which has particular appeal.  It is used in sentences such as: Whether she chooses to accept the nomination or not is neither here nor there to me. It expresses […]

PARADIGM CHANGE #3: Adolescence

I remember hearing some years ago that the term adolescence was a term invented for the American young person who was transitioning between childhood and young adulthood.  The point that person (name gone in my memory) was making was that only in America could this period have such an obvious manifestation.  Obviously, that isn’t true […]