RE: Linguistic Overreaching

Subject: RE: Linguistic Overreaching
From: Stuart Burnfield <sburnf -at- au1 -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 16:10:18 +0800

I said:
> If the journalist really does mean "epicenter" then it's a metaphor.
> If the journalist really means "center" then it's a mistake.

Then Michael West said:
> Say what?
> If the journalist really does mean "epicenter", and writes "epicenter",
> then it's a literalism, not a metaphor.

Ken Banks was talking about journalists who say "epicenter" in contexts not
involving geology. Imagine a news report that talks about a lobbyist being
at the epicentre of the political process, or a footballer being in the
epicentre of the action, or someone being trapped in the epicentre of a
civil disturbance. Now the epicentre is not the centre. When journalists
mean "centre" they should say "centre". If they mean "epicentre" as part of
some precise metaphor meaning "not at the actual centre but at some nearby
point where the effect becomes maximally apparent", then that's a metaphor.

If your journalist is referring to the epicenter of an earthquake, then
sure, that's a literalism. But I don't think anyone's talking about that.
We were talking about writers who choose to go "long and wrong" when the
short, simple word would have worked perfectly well.



WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!.

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: RE: Linguistic Overreaching
Next by Author: Re: Procedures - Must we use numbered steps?
Previous by Thread: RE: Linguistic Overreaching
Next by Thread: Re: Linguistic Overreaching

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads