Friday, March 28, 2014


Yesterday, in discussing a piece of music with a friend (who possesses the greatest academic credentials of anyone of my acquaintance), I commented that a performance was "masterly". She looked quizzical and said she had never heard anyone use that word and she asked, "Did you mean masterful?" I answered, "But it wasn't masterful; there's quite a difference."

MASTERLY: "performed or performing in a very skillful and accomplished way."

MASTERFUL: "powerful and able to control others."

Later, in talking with my brother about the conversation, he asked, "WHEN will you learn that people don't care? You're the only one who CARES!" I answered, "She's the one who quizzed me about my use; I wasn't correcting her; you don't hesitate to correct me!"

He laughed and said, "Well, we SO enjoy correcting YOU!" He told me I was an "old fogey" when it came to language and that it should not surprise him as I'm also "such a Francophile".

A woman used "enthused" recently in a public forum, and it was jarring to my ears. It ranks with "contacted", "impacted", "invite", and other back-formation words which are in common usage, but nevertheless, are very irritating. Do people know that "finalize" was not an acceptable word until President Eisenhower used it so often that it was added to the dictionary?

A person who works at a newspaper seemed irritated when I mentioned that a verb he'd used needed a "helper" and he actually asked why, and although I explained, I wondered why a "professional" writer did not know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. In a passive-aggressive way, by attempting what he obviously thought was a humorous rejoinder--but it only came off as snotty--he told me that I was "welcome to volunteer" at the newspaper to make corrections. I told him my salary demand for the service and said that if that were too much, I would just continue sending his gaffes to SPELL (The Society For The Preservation Of The English Language And Literature).

I'm debating: do I like him enough to give him a gift subscription to the organization's newsletter?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was masterly! ML