Some years ago while on a trip to England, I encountered some words and expressions that made me realize the importance of being bilingual in the English languages. For example, I asked someone in London where I could find an ATM. She looked nonplussed, but her companion translated, “he means […]
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If a reader peruses this article, should I be a) disinterested, or b) nonplussed? It depends on the meaning ascribed to the three italicized words. Let me explain. Traditionally, “disinterested” meant impartial, but nowadays the majority of people use it to mean “not interested.” I regret this modern usage because […]
Four score years ago, minus one, Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Well, it appears Roosevelt was wrong. The site phobialist.com lists more than 500 phobias that might plague someone. Some aren’t widespread, such as cherophobia, the fear of gaiety; leukophobia, the fear of […]
BY: HOWARD RICHLER Freshman: “Sir, can you tell me where the dining hall is at?” Professor: “Don’t you know that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition?” Freshman: “OK, can you tell me where the dining hall is at, asshole?” From the time we entered high school we were […]
BY HOWARD RICHLER Ever since cavemen stopped dragging away unwilling partners by the hair, marriage has been a knotty situation. The climax of a Hindu ceremony arrives when the garments of the bride and groom are tied together and, bound in this manner, the knotted couple walk round a holy […]