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.

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“Archaism (noun): Antiquated expression, diction, or style; out-of-date or old-fashioned word or phrase, often having some currency or literary usefulness, e.g., “perchance,” “forsooth,” “betwixt.”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

A Learning Support on Comma Placement Relative to Other Punctuation

Here is a learning support on comma placement relative to other punctuation. This is the fourteenth of fifteenth learning supports, presented seriatim as they were presented in the punctuation manual from which they were excerpted. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favor

Every Good Boy Deserves Favor: A play (1977) by the Czech-born British dramatist Tom Stoppard (b. 1937), with music by the US conductor Andre Previn. The play is about a dissident confined to a Soviet psychiatric hospital, and the ironic title refers to the mnemonic used in music teaching for the notes on the lines of the treble stave: E, G, B, D, F.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

A Posteriori

“A posteriori: From what comes after: proceeding from effect back to cause, or reasoning form given facts to principles; pertaining to what can be known only through experience or facts; inductive or empirical (contrasted with a priori).”

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

A Learning Support on Using a Comma with Specific Words or Names

To finish up for today, here is a learning support on using a comma with specific words or terms. This is the thirteenth of fifteen such posts. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.

The Doubter’s Dictionary: Facts

Facts: Tools of authority.

Facts are supposed to make truth out of a proposition. There are the proof. The trouble is that there are enough facts around to prove most things. They have become the comfort and prop of conventional wisdom; the music of the rational technocracy; the justification for any sort of policy, particularly as advanced by special interest groups, expert guilds and other modern corporations. Confused armies of contradictory facts struggle in growing darkness. Support ideological fantasies, Staff bureaucratic briefing books.

It was Giambattista Vico who first identified this problem. He argued that any obsession with proof would misfire unless it was examined in a far larger context which took into account experience and the surrounding circumstances. Diderot was just as careful when he wrote the entry on facts for the Encyclopedie:

You can divide facts into three types: the divine, the natural, and man-made. The first belongs to theology; the second to philosophy and the third to history. All are equally open to question.

There is little room for such care in a corporatist society. Facts are the currency of power for each specialized group. But how can so much be expected from these ignorant fragments of knowledge? They are not able to think and so cannot be used to replace thought. They have no memory. No imagination, No judgement. They’re really not much more than interesting landmarks which may illuminate our way as we attempt to think. If properly respected they are never truth, always illustration.”

Excerpted from: Saul, John Ralston. The Doubter’s Companion. New York: The Free Press, 1994.

Write It Right: Commence for Begin

“Commence for Begin. This is not actually incorrect, but—well, it is a matter of taste.”

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

A Learning Support on Using a Comma in Measurements

Moving right along, here is a learning support on using a comma in measurements. This is the twelfth of fifteen learning supports on commas posted in a series on Mark’s Text Terminal. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

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.

Book of Answers: The Death of Jack Kerouac

“How did Jack Kerouac die? The author of On the Road (1957) died at age 47 on October 21, 1969, of a massive gastric hemorrhage associated with alcoholism in St. Petersburg, Florida.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.