I Literally Dislike this Word

We all fall foul to this beauty. Yet perhaps there is something to be learned among the dross and detritus of the day.

Literally, adverb. The primary or intended meaning of a verb.

This word plagues common speech. In part it helps us solve the dilemma of how to describe uncommon events in a public speech overwrought with the embossing and adornment of hyperbole, however it is fraught with risk.

Let us consider the case for usage. Continue reading “I Literally Dislike this Word”

Which one swooped? Fowl, foul or fell?

A fowl swoop seems only natural, but surely we mean a foul one?

Fowl

A FOWL is a bird, like a pheasant, a chicken or a duck.

One tends to picture a Nineteenth Century English countryside with English gentlemen blasting the skies with their shotguns, hounds yapping at their heels eager to collect dead birds; That or fond memories of childhood. See Danny the Champion of the World.

They are not a swooping bird so much as a bird that gets swatted at.
Continue reading “Which one swooped? Fowl, foul or fell?”

Moot or Mute point? A Mote’s Point.

When something doesn’t amount to much. We have a word for that.

A mute is someone who doesn’t speak, they are mute on the matter, indeed they are mute on every matter.

I mute the television when the ads come on. Likewise, a mute might also mute the television if the phone rang and they wanted to hear what the other person was saying, though in no way could they respond – making their answering the phone somewhat moot.

Continue reading “Moot or Mute point? A Mote’s Point.”

Mentee, Mentoree, Meant what?

Language use is a living contest for the expression of ideas. One such contest follows, but who will prevail?

A friend of mine recently disparagingly commented on a mentoring program for their use of the word “mentee”.

To quote: “You’d think a mentoring program would know there’s no such word.”

For those of you thinking I’m being needlessly fastidious and that I’m going to say the word ought to be mentoree, you’d be wrong, as mentoree is not a word either. Continue reading “Mentee, Mentoree, Meant what?”