Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A Triumvirate of Terms
I consider myself a self-proclaimed Grammarphile, and both a lover/hater of the English language. Yesterday was a day chock-full of words that inspired strong reactions from me, both in the positive and negative sense. Twice I came across the word "specificity," and upon reading it aloud in my head I determined the first time it crossed my path that it was decidedly a favorite word of mine. When I came across it the second time in the same day but in an entirely different setting, it was like déjà vu all over again. Specificity reared it marvelous head first in an online sports article, and once in a letter I was preparing for work. While these two venues seem completely different, I rationalize that it was two different attorneys who penned the "specificities" and thus, perhaps, it's just your run-of-the-mill legalese.
Later in the day, I came across the word "Moisten." It's no secret I abhor the word "moist," so I tried "moisten" on for size. As it rolled around in my head, I pondered, "hmm, another version of the same word I detest. Do I hate this one as well? ... Yep." So I will not be "moistening" anything. Some acceptable synonyms if you need to use them are wet, moisturize, dampen (or lick, if we're talking about stamps) but moisten is absolutely not okay in my book.
The third word that crossed my path yesterday was in another sports article - perhaps in the same one penning specificity? I can't recall - I read a lot of sports articles yesterday. The phrase that caught my attention was "the cloak of anonymity." Now if that isn't fun to say, then I don't know what is.
Anonymity: what I should strive for after bearing my soul about my feelings towards the English language, lest my friends and family think I have some serious issues!