Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Say

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Review section of today's New York Times.  (At least, it should be interesting to writers and linguists.)

Henry Hitchings wrote the article, titled "Those Irritating Verbs-as-Nouns."  In it, he notes the trend towards using verbs and adjectives in place of nouns.  The term for this is nominalization.

Examples include "I have a solve" in place of "I have a solution," and "That was an epic fail" instead of "They failed to an epic degree."

Of course, this process has been going on as long as the English language has existed.  As Hitchings points out, "ask" has been used as a noun for a thousand years, although we often add a modifier, like "the big ask."  I seem to recall several characters in James Clavell's Noble House (published 1981) referring to "the ask" - in this case, was part of a debt that the founder of the Noble House had incurred over a hundred years previously.

And how many newspaper or magazine columns have you seen titled "My Say" or "Having My Say"?

Just another tool for writers.  If nothing else, you can use it to make one character's speech different from that of another character.

Happy Easter!

I had a good day today.  At least, it was as good a holiday as I can have when some of the most important people in my life are not here.

But the ones who were here enjoyed each others' company, and that's as much as we can ask for.  Or expect.

I hope you had a good day as well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daytime TV Hell

I'm back at the car dealership, having my vehicle worked on.  Consequently, I'm once again trapped in their waiting room with a TV on.

Years ago, a sports fan said that he assumed that if he turned on the TV off-season, it would just show an empty ballpark.  That's how I feel about daytime TV: there should be nothing except a test signal until 5 pm.  (Maybe 7 pm.  You want news, listen to the radio or read a newspaper!)

But here I am in the waiting room.  Of course, I don't need the reading matter the dealership provides - I have my laptop, and a book, with me.  But I'm always on the lookout for new markets for my writing, so I always check out the magazines.

This dealership waiting room has: Landscape Management, Mushroom News, Western Horseman, and LP Gas ("The Propane Industry's Premier Information Source").  No lie!

I don't think I'll be writing for any of these magazines, since I don't know anything about these subjects.

Now excuse me, I have to learn how to teach my horse how to ground-tie.  (Whatever that means.)