Saturday, August 02, 2008

Language discoveries

I love the Internet for those serendipitous discoveries, especially in language. A few discoveries today:
  • You may know Murphy's law, but there's another version, Murphry's law. Nope, not a misspelling, but coined by John Bangsund and expounded upon in the Society of Editors Newsletter of 1992.The law dictates that (a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written; (b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book; (c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; (d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.
  • You eat, not ogle, Cornish "pasties." It's a term for a pastry.
  • "Blind man's buff" is as correct as "blind man's bluff." The "buff" here is actually the older British term referring to a blow (as in hit).
I was set on that serendipity by World Wide Words, one of the fun things that arrives in my inbox each week brom Michael Quinion. If you like language, get a subscription. It's free. (This week's newsletter explains the term "nuke the fridge." Good stuff.)

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