Sunday, November 30, 2014

Avoid Cliches Like The Plague II

I was reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility when Austen used the phrase "to all intents and purposes," and it reminded me I hadn't written a cliché blog post in quite a while.

Obviously it is a cliché, but the etymologist in me began wondering when it originated and when it became a cliché. Considering that Sense and Sensibility was written over two hundred years ago (published 1811), I thought there was a possibility that maybe the phrase wasn't a cliché when Austen used it. Considering how much I love Austen, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt (which, for those keeping track, is a cliché as well).

A quick peek at revealed that the phrase has been in use among the English since the 15th Century when it was used in legal documents, which means by the time Austen used it, the phrase was probably well-known and used quite often, like it is today.

It is funny and sometimes irritating when people get it wrong. Seriously. If you're going to use a cliché, at least try to get it right. "For all intensive purposes" is not only wrong, it sounds stupid, but you wouldn't believe how often I see it and the places I've seen it, for instance, in business documents and internet news stories - basically, people and writers who should know better.

Of all the clichés, this is the one of the few I find most tolerable, but I still avoid using it, and can't even remember the last time I may have. A cliché is a cliché, and this is one to add to your list.

Until Next Time...
Purposely Yours,

Friday, November 21, 2014

You've been there too...

As my Cheesy Readers know, I own enough unread books at this moment that it would take me nearly five years to read them all at my current rate. My Cheesy Readers also know of my self-imposed grounding from buying any more books, but they also know I'm terrible at self-discipline and I buy books anyway. I make it worse by dropping in at bookstores from time to time, browsing the stacks, and finding even more and more books I want to read. Like many bibliophiles, the compulsion to load up a basket and head to the checkout is strong. But I have learned to control this urge - up to a point.

On my most recent trip, I thought I'd pick up two particular leather bound editions of some classics that I had seen online, but the volumes weren't available in store. Since I was there, I thought I'd go ahead and pick up a book or two anyway. But that turned out to be tougher than I thought.

I have book related restrictions, for instance I've decided to not start a new fantasy or science fiction series without finishing up some of the ones I've already started. The catch being, I'm not always clear which ones I own and which ones I don't. Once I read a book, I never forget it, but until I read it, I may not always recall having it.

Thus was the case on my last trip. I have so many that I've purchased the first one or two or three books in the series, I'm never quite sure when I stopped buying them.

Eventually I admitted defeat, continued to wander the stacks, wanting to buy so so many and just take my chances. I took the safe route and picked up a Barnes & Noble printing of Persuasion (which I knew for a fact I did not own), and the latest edition of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

Until Next Time...
Forgetfully Yours,