Quotes About Word Usage

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Quotes About Word Usage

There is no more irritating fellow than the one who tries to settle an argument about communism, or justice, or freedom, by quoting from the dictionary. Lexicographers may be respected as authorities on word usage, but they are not the ultimate founts of wisdom.
— Mortimer J. Adler —

The intangible, as you can guess, creates some decidedly strange and perceived dichotomies for scientific interpretations. Ask a scientist what the definition of electricity is and he might rattle off, "It is the physical phenomena arising from the reaction of electrons and protons ... " Note the word " ... phenomena ... " in the above statement - it is the key word. It is used as a reference in the philosophical usage rather than as a scientific justification.

— H.D. Rennerfeldt

Rebecca was an academic star. Her new book was on the phenomenon of word casings, a term she'd invented for words that no longer had meaning outside quotation marks. English was full of these empty words
"friend" and "real" and "story" and "change"
words that had been shucked of their meanings and reduced to husks. Some, like "identity" and "search" and "cloud," had clearly been drained of life by their Web usage. With others, the reasons were more complex; how had "American" become an ironic term? How had "democracy" come to be used in an arch, mocking way?

— Jennifer Egan

Some Western readers commonly use the Japanese word manga to mean serious comic-book literature. According to one of my Japanese friends, this usage is wrong. The word manga means "idle picture" and is used in Japan to describe collections of trivial comic-book stories. The correct word for serious comic-book literature is gekiga, meaning "dramatic picture.

— Freeman Dyson

Literally: This word should be deleted. All too often, actions described as "literally" did not happen at all. As in, "He literally jumped out of his skin." No, he did not. Though if he literally had, I'd suggest raising the element and proposing the piece for page one. Inserting "literally" willy-nilly reinforces the notion that breathless nitwits lurk within this newsroom. Eliminate on sight-the usage, not the nitwits. The nitwits are to be captured

— Tom Rachman

It's still a cowl, Frederic grumbled (few things could cause him to summon up his inner courage like improper word usage).

— Christopher Healy

Nationalization, unmentionable only yesterday, has entered common usage not least because an even scarier word - depression - is next on America's list to avoid.

— Frank Rich

Although the American Standard Version (1901) had used "Jehovah" to render the tetragrammaton (the sound of y being represented by j and the sound of w by v, as in Latin), for two reasons the Committees that produced the RSV and the NRSV returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version. (1) The word "Jehovah" does not accurately represent any form of the divine name ever used in Hebrew. (2) The use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom the true God had to be distinguished, began to be discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian church.

— Anonymous.

I should count myself most fortunate ... " Swann was beginning, a trifle pompously, when the Doctor broke in derisively. Having once heard it said, and never having forgotten that in general conversation emphasis and the use of formal expressions were out of date, whenever he heard a solemn word used seriously, as the word 'fortunate' had been used just now by Swann, he at once assumed that the speaker was being deliberately pedantic. And if, moreover, the same word happened to occur, also, in what he called an old 'tag' or 'saw,' however common it might still be in current usage, the Doctor jumped to the conclusion that the whole thing was a joke, and interrupted with the remaining words of the quotation, which he seemed to charge the speaker with having intended to introduce at that point, although in reality it had never entered his mind.
"Most fortunate for France!" he recited wickedly, shooting up both arms with great vigour.

— Marcel Proust

In Nietzsche's usage, the word 'Christianity' does not even refer primarily to the religion; using it like a code word, he is thinking more of a particular religio-metaphysically influenced disposition, an ascetically (in the penitent and self-denying sense) defined attitude to the world, an unfortunate form of life deferral, focus on the hereafter and quarrel with secular facts

— Peter Sloterdijk

Great artists can be uncertain. Of course they are while strugggling to find solutions. Tolstoi's scripts are almost indecipherable. Emily Dickinson provided four or more alternates for every word; Beethoven wrestled with endings to the point of exhaustion; in our day Jerome Robbins and his lack of decision are a byword in the dance profession. But all of these knew very well what they did not want, and what they did not want was the current coin, the well-worn usage. What they wanted was something newly experienced, and therefore unknown and hard to attain.

— Agnes De Mille

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