Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

Queen’s English – Superlative Adjectives

There are certain adjectives which express an ultimate thought and should not be modified further; they are the superlative or uncomparable adjectives.  They describe an absolute state so that any effort to add (or subtract) from their meanings results in either a contradiction or a… Continue reading

Latin Lovers – So What’s Wrong With Ex Parte?

The Latin phrase ex parte means “on one side only” or “on behalf of one party only.”  The term ex parte normally comes up in connection with communications between the court and the parties to a case; ex parte communications are generally disfavored since they… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – The Ever-Vexatious Who, Which, and That

You should use who only to refer to people, while the pronouns that and which should refer only to non-human things and never to people.  “Mary is the one who attends often.”  “The dog that won the show was a terrier.”  “The car that won,… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – Shibboleths

In the Book of Judges 12:5-6, we learn that the original shibboleth was an arbitrary word that Jephthah used to spot his enemies: the Ephraimites had trouble with the sh sound, and when asked to pronounce a word with sh in it, they revealed they were enemy spies (“. . .… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – Beat Them Back If You Can

In the last Sunday of December of each year in the New York Times, Timothy Egan provides us with a list of words which might have been colorful at one time but whose overuse has caused them to become pallid clichés and candidates for his… Continue reading

Latin Lovers 2014

Most lawsuits are personal in nature, reflecting claims brought against individuals or legal entities such as corporations, limited liability companies and the like (all of which are considered legal “persons”).  Such personal claims are referred to as in personam actions.  There is another form of… Continue reading

Queen’s English Evolving Synonyms

Meanings of words change over time mostly because of general usage.  It is not uncommon for purists, who usually wish to preserve our language “as is”, to be offended by these changes; but often to resist them is to try to reverse the changing tides.… Continue reading

Queen’s English – Those Pesky Homonyms

Homonyms, words that sound alike but are spelled differently, are sprinkled throughout English.  Here are some to test your ears Bill’s expression was marred by a nervous tic/tick. The resolution of the suspense peaked/piqued her interest. The story had two discreet/discrete endings The messenger might… Continue reading

Queen’s English Fragments that Enhance

  We are taught to use complete sentences when we write, that every sentence should contain a subject, a verb, and convey a complete thought.  However, Roy Peter Clark in his “Glamour of Grammar” maintains that there are times when sentence fragments can be injected… Continue reading

The Queen’s (Somewhat Fractured) English

The Queen’s (Somewhat Fractured) English Among the many gifts Baseball has bestowed upon us are two notable philosophers, Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra.  Both have left a legacy of wonderful aphorisms, which often appear to be contradictory, but somehow most make sense.  You judge. Casey: Most… Continue reading