Posts Tagged ‘four-letter words’

To whom it may concern: Is “whom” outdated?

You won’t be surprised to learn language evolves over time, and we collectively kick unfortunate words to the curb.whom is dead

Or, art thou?

Indeed, some words are on their way to the literary grave. And “whom,” it’s your turn.

In the April 2013 issue of The Atlantic, the article “For Whom the Bell Tolls” caught my eye. I take that back. It was Megan Garber’s subtitle that entranced me: “The inexporable decline of America’s least favorite pronoun.”

While I’m not a fan of unnecessary formality, I felt a little sad to see this word obituary.

She goes on to explain that “whom” has been dying a slow death since 1826. Apparently Time magazine included 3,352 instances of “whom” in the 1930s, and only 902 in the 2000s. Garber insists “technology seems to be speeding up the demise” of the grammatically incorrect.

She’s right. We didn’t sing along with Ghostbusters theme song, “Whom Ya Gonna Call,” nor do we see “Whom to Follow” on Twitter.

Perhaps I have a soft spot for phrases without a future.

Or maybe it’s my defense of four-letter words. In any case, I call for a moment of silence for whom the bell tolls.

What would you like to add to my R.I.P.?

P.S. While we’re talking grave yards, here’s why I dance a little jig every time I go to my local cemetery.


Love letters

Love letters


Isn’t it amazing what four little letters can do?

Apart, they don’t say much. Together, L-O-V-E, represent something we can’t live without. A couple years ago, I took this photograph at LOVE Park in Philadelphia’s best-known landmark, the Robert Indiana sculpture. I rushed almost 20 blocks with blistered feet before I had to be at the airport on a blazing summer day, just to see the LOVE for myself.

Love matters, and consider this: According to Huffington Post, Americans will spend $17.6 billion for Valentine’s Day – chocolates, paper cards, and other tangible tokens of romance.

Gifts are fine and dandy, but I’m much more a “words of affection” kind of gal. Love letters are the quickest way to my heart, and my favorite way to show love is writing a sweet note.

I’m not alone in wanting  love letters in the world:

As for me, one of my all-time heroes sums of what love really is with these words:

“True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one’s companion.”

– Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand a Little Taller

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sending some love your way.

In defense of four-letter words

In defense of four-letter words

November 14, 2012 |  by  |  Wordbliss  |  , , ,  |  8 Comments

Why do four-letter words get such a bad rap? There's much more to them than wash-your-mouth-out varieties.  Think about it. We livelove, and grow every day.

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Monkey see, monkey read

Monkey see, monkey read

October 17, 2012 |  by  |  Wordbliss  |  , , , ,  |  No Comments

As you read this sentence, you're distinguishing words from gobbledygook letters. You're even connecting meaning to the words you see. Pat yourself on the back; you're one step ahead of smart baboons. Researchers in France's Aix-Marseille University discovered this year that baboons can learn to identify English words. Reported in this month's National Geographic, "Choice Words" explains the study. Researchers presented four-letter combinations to six Guinea baboons, giving the primates a screen indicator to choose if they were looking at a word or non-word. With practice (try 10,000 attempts each!), the baboons could spot actual words with nearly 75 percent accuracy.

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