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Old 08-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,478
Default Literally Short

There were two interesting articles on language in The Washington Post's Outlook section on Sunday.

One on the use of "literally": "However persuasive the historical and linguistic justifications, there’s something uniquely absurd about using the one word that most clearly means “I am not making this up” when you are, in fact, making something up."

While the article is fun and interesting to read, what I am more interested in is copy editor and author Bill Walsh's books “Lapsing Into a Comma,” “The Elephants of Style” and “Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob without Being a Jerk.”

The second is a review by Carlos Lozada of Roy Peter Clark's "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times". As I read the review, what came to mind was the Doonesbury cartoon (May 16, 1979) in which William Blake's poem "Night" is (partially) quoted:

"The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven’s high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night."
(from “Night,” William Blake (1757-1827))

And then translated into "mellowspeak":

"Oh, wow, look at the moon"

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