Words, words, words

I’ve been trying to think of analogy for writers and essayists who use words they don’t understand. Would it be a musician who can’t hear certain tones or an artist who is color blind to certain shades? Even if I can imagine such a musician or artist, I find to hard to imagine the gallery or concert hall that would display their work. So what do you make of a publishing house that publishes unedited the author who misuses words or the New York Review of Books when it fails to correct a blatant misuse of language?

I read a book last week whose author on one page wrote of “the compelling forces that mitigate against them” and “ . . . a world vouchsafed from evil.” Yesterday I read an article in the New York Review of Books about basketball coaches and players that suggested that the coaches had been “wizened” by talking with players. One pictures the shriveled coach stumbling away from such a conversation.

The challenge: to use all three words properly in a single sentence. How about: “How shall we mitigate the forces that conspire against English teachers who vouchsafe to teach better English to their students until they become wizened shells of their former selves?

1 Comment

Andre TrevathanSeptember 26th, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Or as an alternative, “…….become wizened shells—-by reading a certain rated literary review—-of their former selves?”

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