The Vocabula Review

March 2008, Vol. 10, No. 3 Thursday, October 30, 2014


Letters to the Editor
Web version
 

The Vocabula Review welcomes letters to the editor. Please include your name, email address, and professional affiliation. Send your letters to editor@vocabula.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

Praise and Criticism


If often can be said to mean something like "many times," then oftentimes would seem to imply, awkwardly and unnecessarily, "many times times."

I call these caboose-words; they are extravagant, made-up, pulled like overstretched taffy. Or, as [Kerr Houston writes], such words share "inelegance" and "lack of economy."

There are worse examples, such as "we were conversating," or " he is commentating about ...."

Shiver shiver, from the nape of my neck!

Michele Mooney

Since Mark Halpern's essay only once or twice broaches the subject of language, I am not sure what it is doing in the Vocabula Review. I would not object to an article that traced the origin and usage of the term "PC" in American discourse. (Who coined the term, for example, and with what rhetorical goal? Have "PCs" ever actually applied it to themselves, or has it always been used to deride them?) But such an article would require both historical research and a measure of political objectivity, and Halpern's is not rich in either category.

I would be disappointed to see Vocabula become a forum for political opinion pieces that bear only tangentially on language.

David Chinitz

"Bad-hair day" and "soccer mom" are not words. "Dead presidents" and "identity theft" are not words. These are phrases. I think I allowed this oversight to irritate me so much because of the pun section. Why is it that the people who are fond of bad puns, really bad puns, are often the ones who are so willing to inflict us with those bad puns? They know those puns are bad puns. They revel in the fact that they are bad puns. Yet these pun-dips are impelled to torture us. He's even got me making bad puns. The previously mentioned Lederer words were phrases, not words.

Dana Reed Thurston

Other Observations


Why am I hearing and seeing "with" stuck on the verbs "to visit, to consult, to meet" when they are all plain, transitive verbs with an unvarnished object and no auxiliary?

I come across this constantly in USA stuff, but now occasionally on the British TV/radio.

"With" is ungrammatical.

The verb has no need of "with" and, indeed, "with" is, in fact, nonsense here, as it implies the equal co-operation of the object with the subject, although neither is "with" the other until the moment after the event of the verb has occurred and the object is not party to the action.

It's hard not to be dazzled by Barack Obama. At the 2004 Democratic convention, he visited with Newsweek reporters and editors, including me.

The only exception I can discover is an abstract or metaphorical sense, such as "meeting with adversity."

John Gibson

See anything wrong
on this page?

Want to read more?
See the Vocabula essay archive.

Contact
The Vocabula Review.

Vocabula Bound 1 and Vocabula Bound 2

Vocabula Bound 1 and Vocabula Bound 2
Want to read The Vocabula Review in print, on paper, in a book?

Vocabula Bound 1: Outbursts, Insights, Explanations, and Oddities — twenty-five of the best essays and twenty-six of the best poems published in The Vocabula Review.

Vocabula Bound 2: Our Wresting, Writhing Tongue — twenty-eight of the best essays and ten of the best poems published in The Vocabula Review.

Certainly, two of the best collections of essays about the English language


You can order Vocabula Bound 1 and Vocabula Bound 2 from Vocabula Books.

 
 


Print this page

Previous page Previous page Next page Next page
The Vocabula Review
5A Holbrook Court
Rockport, Massachusetts 01966
United States
Made in the USA  
Editor: Robert Hartwell Fiske
Website: www.vocabula.com
Email: info@vocabula.com
Tel: (978) 309-8730
Copyright © 1999–2014 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
The contents of this site are the copyright property of Vocabula Communications Company.
Republication or redistribution of The Vocabula Review's contents on another website, in another publication, or to nonsubscribers is expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of The Vocabula Review. Copy policy.
Vocabula is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
The Vocabula Review is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
Vocabula Books is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
Vocabula logo is a registered trademark of Vocabula Communications Company.
"A society is generally as lax as its language" and "Well spoken is half sung" are registered service marks of Vocabula Communications Company.
All six marks are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
TVR signature tune copyright © 2001 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
The views expressed on these pages do not necessarily reflect those of The Vocabula Review or its editor.
Donate to The Vocabula Review.