The Vocabula Review

March 2008, Vol. 10, No. 3 Sunday, October 26, 2014


Letters from the Editor
Web version
 

Here the editor of The Vocabula Review reprints letters that he has sent to others.

To Bessemer Trust   Read the advertisement.


Dear Mr. Elliott,

Despite the headline of your NYT Magazine Bessemer Trust ad ("Wall Street Gibberish. It's a Language We Don't Speak"), the text shows several examples of shoddy writing.

1. "oftentimes leaving them confused and frustrated ..."

oftentimes is unnecessarily wordy; it's a word college sophomores use; often does the job.

2. "We work closely with each client to understand their goals."

each client requires his goals or her goals or his or her goals.

3. "The bottom line is that ..."

bottom line is gibberish.

4. "The bottom line is that we consider our best client to be an informed client. They should understand ..."

best client is singular; they should is plural.

5. "The answer from our clients is clear — and easily understood — on average, for the last 10 years, we have retained over 98% of client assets"

This is gobbledygook and scarcely understandable. You need two sentences, a semicolon, or a colon; the two dashes make the sentence unintelligible.

To The New York Times   Read the article.


William Kristol may have learned a few sesquipedalian words from Bill Buckley, but he did not learn how to use all of them correctly.

Liberal though I am, I, too, enjoyed listening to Buckley, but I know that "recrudescence" refers to something evil or unpleasant returning. I might, indeed, write about "conservatism's recrudescence," but the editor of The Weekly Standard ought not to have.

To U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey   Listen to the interview.


Dear Sir,

I heard your March 14 reply to reporter Paula Newton's question about Eliot Spitzer. According to the CNN video, you spoke on this matter for 1 minute and 28 seconds, and according to my count, you used the expression um fourteen times — on average, every 6.2 seconds, you said um. Surely the U.S. Attorney General, however brief his time in office, can do better. We expect an adolescent to sprinkle his or her speech with um and the like, not an Attorney General.

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.

 
 


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