PLEONASM [PLEE-uh-naz-uh m]: use of too many words to make a point


I’m the worst!    I am forever being told to simplify my language.  It seems I use too many words to make a point.  I’m guilty of chronic pleonasm.  Somebody reading something I wrote recently said to me, “Eliminate 90% of your adjectives.  You will still make your point, and the reader won’t get bored before […]

OPINE [oh-PAHYN]: the forming of judgment or stating an opinion


The encouraging of people to express an opinion carries a risk with it.   It might just be that the opinion expressed is troublesome…and may actually be counter to the very point that you are trying to make.   But if you are truthful that you are really looking for diverse opinions, you are safe in opening […]

EXCEPTIONALISM: the declaration of special attributes missing in others


It seems that there has been a need to express something about this country that is probably evident to everyone who lives here.  Over the past couple of years the term exceptionalism has become a common utterance in political speeches on both sides of the aisle.   It is an attempt to define the United States […]

PLATITUDE: a trite remark which masquerades as being profound, but actually says nothing

People mean well.  They say things that they think will be consoling, inspiring, and maybe even profound.   But many times the cliché, quote, or ditty that they express is nothing more than a platitude, a remark that is simplistic to the point of being trite. “God needed him in Heaven.” “Only the good die young.” […]

JIBE or JIVE?: common error

I have to admit that I had to look up the answer to this dilemma before I was confident enough to raise the question.   When someone says that something doesn’t line up properly, should they say That just didn’t jibe properly…or…. That just didn’t jive properly I thought I knew the answer, but everyone around […]

OROTUND: [AWR-uh-tuhnd]: loud, bombastic

Who can forget the explosive scream speech of former Governor Howard Dean when he was a candidate for President?  Always an energized, entertaining speaker, Dean let loose with a scream that resonated around the nation…and his campaign was over.  Even he laughs about it now, but at the time it was a signal to American […]