The Queen’s English – Odds & Ends

Certain adjectives express conditions that are beyond improvement; that is, the words express perfection and cannot be improved upon, though sometimes we feel compelled to embellish them unnecessarily.  (I pause here to acknowledge that one of the world’s most important documents commences, “In order to form a more perfect union…” All things considered, we can forgive them.)  Some of the adjectives in this category are: square, round, straight, true, honest, perfect, white, and unique.

In a negative sense these words can be modified properly to indicate less than perfection: not quite square; nearly round; partially true; dishonest; or off-white.  But it is hyperbolic (and incorrect) to say more square, most perfect, whitest, etc.

Abandon All Hopefully!

Hopefully is perhaps the most grammatically abused word in English.  We hear it constantly; “Hopefully, the runner will score”; or, “Hopefully, she’ll arrive in time”; or “Hopefully, John will remember your birthday.”  In each of those sentences, inevitably the speaker intends Posted in Queen’s English / Latin Lovers  |  Leave a comment

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