Word Division, or How to Carve

Word Division, and How to Carve - Terence Kuch (www.terencekuch.net) Meat should be cut at the joint, Plato said, not merely hacked apart any old place. Likewise, words, if they must be divided, should be cut at their own joints. The pieces (before and after line-breaks) should bear as much meaning as possible, as an aid to the reader. In violation of this principle, the Washington Post once divided “homerun” as ho/merun. Exactly what’s wrong here? There is a home plate, and runners run there. … [Read more...]

“Johnny No-Title” / Memorable Fancies #1397

“If you were part of a research paper, say, in physics or chemistry,” Hal asked, nodding at us around at the table after too much wine, “what part would you be? Like ‘methodology’ or ‘findings’ or ‘references.’” So I spoke up first and said “I want to be the title,” thinking that might get Hal off on another subject, one that wasn’t so pointless. There were frowns. After a moment Phyllis looked at me and said, “No, Johnny; you’re not the title type. No way.” The others nodded thoughtfully. I … [Read more...]

“The Question Mark” / A Memorable Fancy #141

Vince Darlington’s first novel was about to appear. He’d spent almost three years writing a gentle, loving, almost-fictitious story about his and Margery’s long affair and then marriage. Write. Write. Edit. Delete. Desperately search for the deleted file. Write more. Was that love scene strong enough? Too obvious? Perhaps – he shivered – boring?Finally, the manuscript was done. He’d had many doubts about it, but finally found a publisher who thought it could sell, asked for only a few … [Read more...]