The Queen’s English – Tidbits

Writing in the monthly Pennsylvania Lawyer, Gertrude Block is always interesting and often wry in her observations.  Here are a few: Pleaded or pled (as in legal filings).  Actually, as the past tense of plead,  either is correct, though Americans seem to prefer pleaded.  Compare the following verbs, however:  bleed and bled, lead and led, read and read (ignore the deceptive spelling).  On the other hand the past tense of deed is deeded (not surprising, considering the alternative).

  • The derivation of the word posh was questioned, and one possible explanation deals with rooms on English tourists’ boats in the Victorian era.  The shady side was favored by tourists because of the intense heat on the sunny side.  Since the shady side was on the port side going out and on the starboard side returning, the tickets for the rich were stamped “P.O.S.H.”  (“port out, starboard home”).
  • The phrase “don’t cry over spilt milk” is believed to come from the Old Testament, II Samuel, 14:14, “For we must needs die, and are as water split on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”
  • A Miami T-shirt company printed shirts to promote a visit by the Pope.  They referred to the Pope as “La Papa” (instead of the correct El Papa in Spanish), so that the message on the shirts translated to “I saw the potato”.
  • When Chevrolet created the Nova model, it discovered that the phrase no va in Spanish means “won’t go”.  (Considering GM’s massive problems over the past decade, maybe it didn’t.
  •  Method or Methodology.  They may be used by some interchangeably, but these words are not synonymous.  A method is a way to accomplish an end.  Methodology is the theoretical analysis of working methods.
  • Though they may sound alike, the plural nouns incidents (events) and incidence (the ratePosted in Queen’s English / Latin Lovers  |  Leave a comment

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