RE: Are we WRITERS????

Subject: RE: Are we WRITERS????
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 10:50:11 -0800

Barry Baldwin <barry -dot- baldwin -at- sanchez -dot- com> wrote:

>I can see why "irregardless" is technically incorrect, but I'm
curious why
>"prioritize" is technically incorrect.

While I realize that English changes, and wouldn't have it any
other way, I do try to choose the new words that I adopt
carefully. Some of the guides I use are:

1.) Does the word express a concept or a nuance that an existing
word doesn't cover?

2.) Is it a short or a pithy word that I could use in ordinary
conversation without sounding as if I was trying to show-off?

3.) Is the word used by everyone from my goldfish to my

4.) Is the word ugly?

5.) Does the word obscure?

If I answer the first two questions with a "yes" and the last
three with a "no," then I will use the word.

For example, I discard "irregardless" on the basis of the first
four questions. "Prioritize," on the other hand, is a border-line
case. I think it passes the last question, but fails the other
three. Whether it passes the first question, I'm not sure; I
could use "order," but the meaning's not exact, and the word
would sound odd. On the whole, however, I tend not to use it.

Of course, I don't imagine that my choices makes more than a
minute difference to how the English language develops. Still, I
like to do what I can for a language that I'm in love with.
Besides, I find that these rules that I develop for myself are a
reasonable guide to whether a new word becomes part of the
language or not. Words that don't convey a new concept, or become
over-used don't, as a whole, enter the language. At the most,
they become a clue to a speaker's generation and culture.

>English: The original open-source code.

Like your tag line! Only, who's the maintainer? :-)

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Vancouver, BC, Canada
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com (604.421.7189)

"Truth loving Persians do not dwell upon
The trivial expedition of the Marathon..."
- Robert Graves, "The Persian Version"

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