Author Archive

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Not to be English is hardly regarded as a fatal deficiency even by the English

Still, not to be English is hardly regarded as a fatal deficiency even by the English, though grave enough to warrant sympathy. Beryl Markham, West with the Night

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The majesty and grandeur of the English language

I know your head aches. I know you’re tired. I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher’s window. But think what you’re trying to accomplish—just think what you’re dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language; it’s the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that

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Polysyllables obfuscate a preponderant ignorance

Polysyllables obfuscate a preponderant ignorance with so much more style and panache. John Patrick Lowrie, Dancing With Eternity

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Opportunities for misreadings in English

In a language as idiomatically stressed as English, opportunities for misreadings are bound to arise. By a mere backward movement of stress, a verb can become a noun, an act a thing. To refuse, to insist on saying no to what you believe is wrong, becomes at a stroke refuse, an insurmountable

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English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. James D. Nichols

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Speak like English aristocrats before the First World War

“I guess that isn’t the right word,” she said. She was used to apologizing for her use of language. She had been encouraged to do a lot of that in school. Most white people in Midland City were insecure when they spoke, so they kept their sentences short and their words simple,

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Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall

Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall. Joseph Conrad

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One flaw that made all the other imperfections pale in comparison

You have many flaws, he announced… “But there was one flaw that made all the other imperfections pale in comparison.” “Was?” she asked. “I don’t have this flaw any longer?” “No, you don’t.” “Pray tell,” she muttered in exasperation, “what was this terrible flaw?” He grinned. “You used to be English.” Julie

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Drop your Foreign Accent

Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard,

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Say things in English which simply cannot be said in any other language

Its very variety, subtlety, and utterly irrational, idiomatic complexity makes it possible to say things in English which simply cannot be said in any other language. Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
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