Category Archives: Quotes

As every second post on this site is a quote. You’ll find a deep and broad variety of quotes under this category, which overlap with several other tags and categories. Many of the quotes are larded with links for deeper reading on the subject of the quote, or connections between the subject of the quotes and other people, things, or ideas. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Teach the Child, Not the Subject

“Teach the child, not the subject: The quintessential slogan of the progressive, child-centered movement of the 20th century. It is certainly true that the health and welfare of the child are more important than the academic subject matter. However, the slogan sets up an unfortunate and unnecessary dichotomy between the child’s social, physical, and emotional well-being and the teacher’s responsibility to teach the child the knowledge and skills that are essential elements of a good education. Both are important.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Write It Right: Commencement for Termination

“Commencement for Termination. A contribution to our noble tongue by its scholastic conservators, ‘commencement day’ being their name for the last day of the collegiate year. It is ingeniously defended on the ground that on that day those on whom degrees are bestowed commence to hold them. Lovely!”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Lexicon

“Lexicon (noun): An alphabetical list or book of defined words; wordbook; glossary or dictionary; the vocabulary of a particular language, class, group, or individual; word-hoard; compete record or domain, as of a particular field. Plural: lexicons, lexica; verb: lexiconize.

‘Among several reasons why the Women’s Liberation Movement (and interesting metaphor in itself) runs into resistance is that both men and women have internalized a rich lexicon of metaphors, about the subjects of sex, love, and domesticity.’ Neil Postman, Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Azulejos

“Azulejos: The Spanish word for ceramic tiles used for decorative purposes to embellish architecture. The art is a legacy from the Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, and fine examples are found in both Spain and Portugal.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Rhetorical Question

“Rhetorical Question: Basically a question not expecting an answer, or one to which the answer is more or less self-evident. It is used primarily for stylistic effect, and is a very common device in public speaking—especially when the speaker is trying to work up the emotional temperature. For example (a politician on the hustings:

‘Are we going to tolerate this intrusion upon our freedom? Are we going to accept these restrictions? Are we to be intimidated by time-serving bureaucrats? Are we to be suppressed by sycophantic and supine jackals waiting for dead men’s shoes?’

Or the writer may argue with himself (and in a different way work on the emotions of the reader) as Sir Philip Sidney does in the 47th sonnet of the sequence Astrophel and Stella:

‘What, have I thus betrayed my libertie?

Can those blacke beames such burning markes engrave

In my free side? Or am I borne a slave,

Whose necke become such yoke of tyranny?

Or want I sense to feel my miserie?

Or sprite, disdained of such disdaine to have?’

Another fundamental form of rhetorical question (both having something in common with the above) are: (a) a series of questions in quick succession for emphasis (e.g. “Can we make it? If so, will it work? Where can we market it? Can we market it cheaply?” and so on); (b) a question put to another person or oneself which expresses surprise, astonishment, or anger and which is not easily answered. A good example is Bolingbroke’s outburst in Richard II (I, iii, 294) after he has been banished:

‘O, who can hold a fire in his hand,

By thinking of the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite

By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow,

By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?'”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Term of Art: Think-Aloud Strategy

“think-aloud strategy: The process of talking explicitly about what one is reading. The think-aloud process, which involves questioning, accessing prior knowledge, and making predictions, helps students recognize the strategies they are using to understand a text.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Life Enhancement

“Life Enhancement: Term used by art historian Bernard Berenson to describe what he considered the primary function and role of art: the power to enrich, enhance, and extend the meaning of life.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

A Learning Support on Gray Areas in Comma Use

Last but not least, here is a learning support on gray areas in comma use. This is the fifteenth of fifteen posts carrying learning supports–presented seriatim in the order, sorted by major subheadings, from the punctuation manual from which they are excerpted. If you click here, you will end up back at the first posted support, titled “An Introductory Learning Support on Using the Comma.” From there, you scroll up to find them in order. Each post indicates which is which in the sequence.

If you want it, here is the table of contents for all fifteen of the learning supports in this chain.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Archaism

“Archaism (noun): Antiquated expression, diction, or style; out-of-date or old-fashioned word or phrase, often having some currency or literary usefulness, e.g., “perchance,” “forsooth,” “betwixt.” Adj. archaism; v. archaize.

‘A part of our reality is the unreality of archaic language about sex.’ Dwight Bolinger, Language—The Loaded Weapon”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley on the Standardization of American Life

“It takes no great perspicacity to detect and to complain of the standardization in American life. So many foreign and domestic commentators have pointed this feature out in exactly the same terms that the comment has become standardized and could be turned out on little greeting cards, all from the same type-form: ‘American life has become too standardized.’”

Robert Benchley

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.