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APP—Bodily fluids do not exist . . .

The APP in the title does not stand for an application for your phone or your computer or any other of the flood of digital gadgets on the market. It stands for A Previous Posting. I originally posted this brilliant essay on the use and misuse of certain words in June of 2009 in response to a request from one of my daughters, the one that lives, loves and works in Northern Virginia. The same daughter just commented on a recent posting and asked me if I would write something on the use of the word bodily, so now you know why I dragged it all the way here from fifteen months ago. I posted it specifically for her, but I’ll cheerfully share it with you.

Bodily fluids do not exist

A certain phrase is frequently—nay, incessantly—used on television and radio stations, in face-to-face conversations, in magazine articles, books, newspapers, pamphlets—in every element and circumstance in which English is spoken and written, we hear and read this phrase—bodily fluids.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned speakers—a pox, I say, on those that use the term bodily fluids.

Bodily fluids do not exist—there is no such thing.

Listen up:

The human body does not contain any bodily fluids, nor do the bodies of any other organisms contain bodily fluids—not the lower orders of animals, whether bipeds, quadrupeds or no-peds, not mammals, not ruminates or non-ruminants, not bees, birds, flies, fleas, ticks, termites, aardvarks, arachnids, reptiles, mollusks or crustaceans—not one zoological organism that exists among our planet’s fauna—nothing that flies, walks, runs, climbs, crawls or slithers, whether on land, in the air or in the world’s vast oceans—not one contains bodily fluids.

Not one.

However, all contain body fluids, substances which are vital to life, including those that remain in the body at all times unless spilled in accidents, or deliberately spilled in altercations, up to and including death. There are, of course, specific body fluids that are expelled naturally through normal body functions—perspiration and tears are a couple which come to mind, but there are others.

Why, you may ask, would I say there is no such thing as bodily fluids? Well, just in case you do ask, I will answer in advance. Bodily is an adverb. Adverbs are usually formed by adding ly to a verb, and the new word is intended to take the action of the verb that precedes it (it usually, but not necessarily, follows the verb in the sentence).

An example would be, “He spoke softly.” He is the subject, spoke is the verb, and soft is the object of the verb, the word which takes the action of the verb, with ly added to show how he spoke—softly.

Please note that body is not a verb—it is a noun, and therefore proper English does not authorize the suffix required to transform it into an adverb. Body can stand as the object of a verb, as in “He caressed her body gently.” Her body is the object of the verb caressed, and the adverb gently tells us how he caressed it—that’s gentle with the e dropped and the y added.

But I digress—on with the posting.

Example of bodily’s proper use:

“The bum was bodily ejected from the club by the bouncer.”

This tells the reader or the listener that the bouncer (subject) ejected (verb) the bum (object) bodily (how he was ejected). Not only did the bouncer eject the bum’s hat, shoes, underwear and outer clothing—he ejected his entire body including everything he was wearing—by ejecting the bum’s body, he ejected him bodily.

Example of body fluids proper use :

On arriving at the crime scene the CSI investigators collected items intended for DNA testing—included in their collection were traces of  semen, sweat, spittle, urine and feces (those CSI people are very thorough). That which they collected were traces of body fluids, not bodily fluids (judging by the above, this may well have been a sex-related crime scene).

And now, finally, the conclusion of this posting:

Nobel prize winners, doctors of medicine, doctors of letters, ambassadors, presidents (oh, yeah!), senators, congressmen and most egregious of all, newspaper columnists and virtually every talking head and commentator and journalist on television—all, almost without exception, refer to body fluids as bodily fluids—the misuse is so universally voiced that some doubt exists (mine) as to whether the proper term will ever be used. I fear that, similar to the word nuclear, the improper use of bodily as an adjective has corrupted our language and is here to stay.

Consider our penultima president (that’s the next-to-last president, the one immediately prior to the current occupant of the White House). He frequently had need to use the word nuclear, and he consistently pronounced it new-key-ler. Affected (and infected) by his eight years on television, approximately half the English-speaking world (my estimate) now pronounces the word new-key-ler. I predict that our current president, simply from exposure to television and talking heads, commentators and roving whatevers, even with his ivy-league education, may soon endorse that mispronouncement and make it mandatory by issuing a presidential edict—in that event, the word would probably appear on his teleprompter as new-key-ler.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned who use the term bodily fluids:

Bodily fluids do not exist. There is no such thing. Fluid in the body is body fluid.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned who say new-key-ler:

The word is spelled nuclear. It should be pronounced nuclear.

That’s my story and my complaint, and I’m sticking to both!

 

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Texting kills + A repost of Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I first posted this subject four months ago on January 22, 2010. That posting is primarily a dissertation on conjugation, specifically on the past tense of the word text when used as a verb. The posting has been available for four months on Word Press and has garnered zero comments and only one vote, and in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that the one vote is mine—hey, I realize that shows partiality on my part, but I enjoy reading my own writing. Nothing improper about that, right? Right? Right!

Texting while driving is under fire all across our nation. Here in San Antonio the use of cell phones is banned in school zones, and our city commissioners are now considering a city–wide law outlawing texting while driving. I have serious doubts that it will happen, but hope springs eternal—it’s the right thing to do.

Texting is killing people. Let me rephrase that—texters are killing people, killing them just as surely as if they had held a gun to another person’s head and pulled the trigger. Texting while driving, whether reading a message or sending a message, should be outlawed nation-wide—nay, world wide! Both practices are distractions, and both kill people.

Click here for Car Accident Cell Phone statistics.

This is an excerpt from that web site:

In 2008, at any given moment, over 800,000 Americans were texting, making calls, or using a handheld cell phone while driving during the daytime. With distracted driving killing nearly 6,000 Americans in the same year, it’s no mystery that cell phone use is risky for drivers.

How many of those 6,000 Americans died as the result of a driver texting while operating a motor vehicle? Some of the distractions that caused 6,000 deaths in one year were unavoidable—as the saying goes, stuff happens, and some of that stuff is beyond a driver’s control. Texting, however,  is well within the driver’s control—all the driver needs do is don’t.  The number of cell phone users and the number of text messages sent and received has increased astronomically since 22008. If distractions killed 6,000 people in 2008, how many will die in 2010?

Please read the statistics on cell phone use carefully, and be afraid—be very afraid. The driver behind the wheel of that vehicle approaching you on a undivided two-lane highway is traveling at 60 miles per hour—both hands on the wheel, but the driver is holding a cell phone and using both thumbs to text messages by typing on a minuscule keyboard and all the while supposedly in control of  several tons of extremely hard materials—steel, rubber, aluminum, fiberglass and glass—lots and lots of glass.

Accept the fact that the other driver is not in control of that vehicle—that driver is wearing a shroud, holding a cell phone in one hand and a scythe in the other. In far too many instances—even one is too many—that driver is the Grim Reaper, a potential killer. So do yourself a favor—if you text while driving, stop. If your friends text while driving, implore them to stop, and don’t ride with them if they continue that deadly practice.

Contact your city officials—police, city commissioners, mayors, city managers, and state and national lawmakers and representatives and demand that texting while driving be outlawed.

I know, I know—it ain’t gonna happen.

This is my original posting of Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I have been chastised by a viewer that finds my postings far too lengthy and reading them in their entirety requires extended absences from some of life’s more important activities, including such vital ones as texting and watching television (I would surmise that the viewer does not read books or periodicals for the same reason).

In response to that criticism I am introducing the ‘quickie’ posting. The use of that term necessarily mandates a definition. From Wikipedia: A quickie is defined as ‘a thing done or made quickly or hastily, in particular a rapidly consumed alcoholic drink or a brief act of sexual intercourse.’ The word may legitimately be used as a noun or an adjective to describe an infinite number of situations other than those involving drinks or sexual intercourse.

At this point I must note that a quickie (the noun) may be either given or received. Examples would be, for instance, ‘The featured speaker gave a quickie to the members,’ and ‘The members received a quickie from the featured speaker.’

Got it?

This quickie will not involve alcoholic drinks or sex (not that I’m opposed to either). My intent is to post a quickie (noun) from time to time, and such entries will be quickie (adjective) postings.

Now for my first quickie:

Texting is a relatively new word in our language. Virtually everyone is aware of its meaning, so no definition should be required. However, since the word is a verb it is subject to the rules of conjugation (no relation to the adjective conjugal as used in conjugal visits).

Incidentally, the generally recognized basis for permitting such visits (conjugal) in modern times is to preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life outside prison. The visit will usually take place in a structure provided for that purpose, such as a trailer or small cabin. Supplies such as soap, condoms, tissues, sheets, pillows, and towels may be provided (bold emphasis is mine).

Hey, I didn’t make that up—it came straight from Wikipedia! Check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugal_visit

I haven’t seen an official conjugation of the verb text, but I assume the verb as presently used would be conjugated for the present, past and future tenses as follows:

I text on my phone daily (present tense)—the gerund of text would be texting, of course. I texted on it yesterday (past tense) and tomorrow I will text again (future tense). The conjugation would be text, texted, text, similar to the verb run (run, ran, run).

My assumption is based on the fact that all those that text use texted to indicate past tense, namely, ‘I texted the schedule to everyone.’

And now, to quote the bard, ‘Ay, there’s the rub.’

If texted is the proper past tense for the verb text, the sequence of a batter’s performance in baseball games would be, ‘He hit the ball on the first pitch, and he hitted the ball on the first pitch yesterday, and he will probably hit the ball on the first pitch tomorrow.’ The gerund in this case would be, ‘He is hitting 500 ( fifty percent) this season.’

There you have it—I rest my case. If text, texted, text is correct then it logically follows that hit, hitted, hit would be correct, rather than the current conjugation of hit, hit, hit.

I boldly, with all semblance of humility aside, suggest that the past tense of text should not be texted—it should be simply text. The verbs hit and text are both one syllable, both end in ‘T’ and should therefore be voiced as, ‘I text her yesterday’ rather than ‘I texted her yesterday.’ The verb text should be conjugated as text, text, text. Try it—voice the past tense as presently used—texted, two syllables with equal emphasis on both syllables. Then voice the past tense as text, a word that is considered one syllable, but when voiced comes across as two syllables. Unless you omit the ‘t’ sound at the end of texttex, you’ll pronounce the ‘t’ as a second syllable—try it! (Note that ‘it‘ is also pronounced with two syllables).

Come on, admit it—texted is awkward. It’s completely unwieldy and should be banned.

If my viewers will admit that it’s awkward, then I will in turn admit that this posting does not qualify as a quickie because it ran amok, completely out of control. If it’s a quickie, then it’s a quickie on steroids. Posting can legitimately be compared to such mundane activities as running down hill, eating peanuts (or cashews) and sex. Once started, it may be difficult to stop—nay, in extreme cases it may be impossible.

Postcript: I did not intend to involve alcoholic drinks or sex in this first quickie. I kept my promise on the drinks, but the serpent reared its ugly head in the above paragraph. I offer an abject apology to any viewer that may have found the word offensive. I did not delete it (behead the serpent, so to speak) because the thought was applicable and the word fit well.

Or should I say it fitted well, as in texted?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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A letter to Laura . . .

This posting was prompted by a comment made by a viewer on one of my previous postings (see at https://thekingoftexas.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/letter-to-the-editor-san-antonio-express-news-obama’s-reeling/).

The original posting was prompted by an apostrophe placed in the surname Obama. It was meant to form a contraction, “Obama is,” an other-than-normal contraction and somewhat misleading. Obama’s is the possessive form of a singular noun, and the apostrophe thus implies that the president possesses a reeling, whatever that might be. “Obama’s reeling” was the heading of a letter to the editor of San Antonio’s Express-News, the only daily newspaper (and fading fast) in the seventh most populous city in the United States. The subject of the letter was Massachusetts’ recent  election to fill the Senate seat held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. The race was between a Democrat and a Republican. Would anyone want to hazard a guess as to which candidate won?

You’re right!

I felt that this venue was more appropriate than replying directly to the viewer’s comment on that posting—any reply I made would have been buried and would have rarely, if ever, been exposed to the brilliant light of a separate posting.

As an incidental but closely related thought, I recently encountered this phrase on a blog: “I’d have,” meaning “I would have . . .” I consider “I’d” to be an improper contraction, and ambiguous even if it were proper—it could also mean “I did have” or “I should have,” etc. Would anyone want to hazard a guess as to whose website it was on?

You’re right!

And now on to Laura’s comment and my letter to her:

From: (http://www.bartleby.com/141/strunk.html#1)

William Strunk, Jr. (1869–1946).  The Elements of Style.  1918

II. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE

1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s.

Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write,

Charles’s friend

Burns’s poems

the witch’s malice

This is the usage of the United States Government Printing Office and of the Oxford University Press.

Note: (The italics and bolding in Strunk’s rule above are mine).

This is Laura’s comment on my posting:

“The Chicago Manual of Style agrees with Strunk and White re: forming the possessive of a proper noun ending in S by adding an apostrophe and S. Also, I’m wondering if you meant “feign” and not “fain,” which doesn’t seem to fit neatly in your sentence. — Laura.” (http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com)

Letter to Laura . . .

Hi, Laura,

Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment. Please note that I approved it exactly as you posted it—I’m sure you are aware that I could have edited the comment to fit my taste, and had I chosen to do so I could have deleted it in its entirety. You, however, cannot edit your comment after it is posted, nor can you edit my reply—that leaves me free to change, rebut or delete any comment that is less than complimentary. I chose to let your comment stand as submitted in order to expand my response via this posting.

As used in that sentence, the phrase fain to know means if one desires to know, or is inclined to know or is willing to know (desirous, inclined and willing are three of fain’s many definitions). Had I used the word feign, it would have meant pretend to know. I know that fain is archaic and sparsely (if ever) used in today’s writings, but I do not feel that I misused it in my posting. As for my choice of a word “which doesn’t seem to fit neatly” in the sentence, I am satisfied with its fit and its neatness—nay, I’m more than satisfied—I am proud of both attributes.

On your trek through a flourishing crop of words in the process of nitpicking, you managed to harvest only one nit, and that one nit apparently prompted you to rate the posting with a negative thumbs down. I say apparently because I can’t be sure that the thumbs down is yours. However, this I know with certainty—yours is the only comment on the posting, and of the five votes existing at this time four are mine, so I must surmise that the thumbs down vote is yours.

A grammatical note—I realize that the graphic for the voting process shows only one thumb up and one thumb down. I use the plurals (thumbs up and thumbs down) because I cannot remember ever hearing someone giving someone a singular thumb up or thumb down—sounds a bit naughty.

Yes, I vote on my own postings, and I always give myself a thumbs up vote—to do otherwise would be self-defeating, so to speak. Please let me know whether the lone negative vote is yours, and if it is not I will willingly—just willingly, not humbly—tender a public apology.

I give nothing less than excellent ratings to any posting, whether items posted by me or by other bloggers (I suspect you would agree with me that consistency is a desirable trait). I strive mightily to adhere to the adage that says, “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything.”

As an aside, I believe the practice of one voting on one’s own posting is widespread, a belief that is supported by a comprehensive poll of several (three) bloggers. Such actions are simply the result of writers tooting their own horn, a perfectly normal and common practice that is neither prohibited nor restricted by rule or law.

As regards your statement that The Chicago Manual of Style agrees with Strunk:

I do not agree with your statement, nor do I trust or agree with anyone or anything related to Chicago, whether that person or thing be animal, vegetable, mineral, publication or president. I visited the Chicago Manual of Style online, but went no farther than the second page (the result of a search phrase) because I was unwilling to subscribe and pay for the “privilege” of going farther. However, the results of my search (admittedly brief) appear to contradict your contention that the Chicago Manual of Style agrees with William Strunk’s The Element of Style, circa 1918. In fact, the Chicago Manual of Style appears to leave a fair amount of choice for ways to show the possessive forms of words ending in ess—Strunk offers no alternatives and states that we should “Follow this rule whatever the final consonant.”

Check it out at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/search.epl. I used the search phrase possessive of words ending in s and it returned eight entries dealing with that subject.

Here are the first two entries:

7.21:   Words and names ending in unpronounced “s”

To avoid an awkward appearance, an apostrophe without an s may be used for the possessive of singular words and names ending in an unpronounced s.

The following is a personal note, intended to clarify the term unpronounced: The ess is pronounced, but it takes the sound of ze, the twenty-sixth (and final) letter in the English alphabet.

7.23: An alternative practice

options outlined above may prefer the system, formerly more common, of simply omitting the possessive s on all words ending in s

Those entries do not show agreement with Strunk—they show that there are alternatives that may be used to “avoid an awkward appearance,” and they give the option of “simply omitting the possessive s on all words ending in s” in stark contrast to Strunk’s imperative to “Follow this rule whatever the final consonant.” Two of the examples given are Charles’s friend and Burns’s poems, both wrong and neither in complete agreement with the Chicago Manual of Style.

Laura, I spent some time on your site at http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com. I enjoyed my visit, and had you provided a counter for votes similar to the one I use on my blog, I would have rated your work excellent. You are quite thorough and successful in your quest to find errors in the writings of others, and you effectively use humor in pointing out the errors albeit, in my opinion, humor tinged with a certain measure of contempt for the inept writer.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I have been chastised by a viewer who finds my postings far too lengthy and reading them in their entirety requires extended absences from some of life’s more important activities, including such vital ones as texting and watching television (I would surmise that the viewer does not read books or periodicals for the same reason).

In response to that criticism I am introducing the ‘quickie’ posting. The use of that term necessarily mandates a definition. From Wikipedia: A quickie is defined as ‘a thing done or made quickly or hastily, in particular a rapidly consumed alcoholic drink or a brief act of sexual intercourse.’ The word may legitimately be used as a noun or an adjective to describe an infinite number of situations other than those involving drinks or sexual intercourse.

At this point I must note that a quickie (the noun) may be either given or received. Examples would be, for instance, ‘The featured speaker gave a quickie to the members,’ and ‘The members received a quickie from the featured speaker.’

Got it?

This quickie will not involve alcoholic drinks or sex (not that I’m opposed to either). My intent is to post a quickie (noun) from time to time, and such entries will be quickie (adjective) postings.

Now for my first quickie:

Texting is a relatively new word in our language. Virtually everyone is aware of its meaning, so no definition should be required. However, since the word is a verb it is subject to the rules of conjugation (no relation to the adjective conjugal as used in conjugal visits).

Incidentally, the generally recognized basis for permitting such visits (conjugal) in modern times is to preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life outside prison. The visit will usually take place in a structure provided for that purpose, such as a trailer or small cabin. Supplies such as soap, condoms, tissues, sheets, pillows, and towels may be provided (bold emphasis is mine).

Hey, I didn’t make that up—it came straight from Wikipedia! Check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugal_visit

I haven’t seen an official conjugation of the verb text, but I assume the verb as presently used would be conjugated for the present, past and future tenses as follows:

I text on my phone daily (present tense)—the gerund of text would be texting, of course. I texted on it yesterday (past tense) and tomorrow I will text again (future tense). The conjugation would be text, texted, text, similar to the verb run (run, ran, run).

My assumption is based on the fact that all those that text use texted to indicate past tense, namely, ‘I texted the schedule to everyone.’

And now, to quote the bard, ‘Ay, there’s the rub.’

If texted is the proper past tense for the verb text, the sequence of a batter’s performance in baseball games would be, ‘He hit the ball on the first pitch, and he hitted the ball on the first pitch yesterday, and he will probably hit the ball on the first pitch tomorrow.’ The gerund in this case would be, ‘He is hitting 500 ( fifty percent) this season.’

There you have it—I rest my case. If text, texted, text is correct then it logically follows that hit, hitted, hit would be correct, rather than the current conjugation of hit, hit, hit.

I boldly, with all semblance of humility aside, suggest that the past tense of text should not be texted—it should be simply text. The verbs hit and text are both one syllable, both end in ‘T’ and should therefore be voiced as, ‘I text her yesterday’ rather than ‘I texted her yesterday.’ The verb text should be conjugated as text, text, text. Try it—voice the past tense as presently used—texted, two syllables with equal emphasis on both syllables. Then voice the past tense as text, a word that is considered one syllable, but when voiced comes across as two syllables. Unless you omit the ‘t’ sound at the end of text and pronounce it as tex, you’ll pronounce the ‘t’ as a second syllable—try it! (Note that ‘it‘ is also pronounced with two syllables).

Come on, admit it—texted is awkward. It’s completely unwieldy and should be banned.

If my viewers will admit that it’s awkward, then I will in turn admit that this posting does not qualify as a quickie because it ran amok, completely out of control. If it’s a quickie, then it’s a quickie on steroids. Posting can legitimately be compared to such mundane activities as running down hill, eating peanuts (or cashews) and sex. Once started, it may be difficult to stop—nay, in extreme cases it may be impossible.

Postcript: I did not intend to involve alcoholic drinks or sex in this first quickie. I kept my promise on the drinks, but the serpent reared its ugly head in the above paragraph. I offer an abject apology to any viewer that may have found the word offensive. I did not delete it (behead the serpent, so to speak) because the thought was applicable and the word fit well.

Or should I say it fitted well, as in texted?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Bodily fluids do not exist . . .

A certain phrase is frequently—nay, incessantly—used on television and radio stations, in face-to-face conversations, in magazine articles, books, newspapers, pamphlets—in every element and circumstance in which English is spoken and written, we hear and read this phrase—bodily fluids.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned speakers—a pox, I say, on those who use the term bodily fluids.

Bodily fluids do not exist—there is no such thing.

Listen up:

The human body does not contain any bodily fluids, nor do the bodies of any other organisms contain bodily fluids—not the lower orders of animals, whether bipeds, quadrupeds or no-peds, not mammals, not ruminates or non-ruminants, not bees, birds, flies, fleas, ticks, termites, aardvarks, arachnids, reptiles, mollusks or crustaceans—not one zoological organism that exists among our planet’s fauna—nothing that flies, walks, runs, climbs, crawls or slithers, whether on land, in the air or in the world’s vast oceans—not one contains bodily fluids.

Not one.

However, all contain body fluids, substances which are vital to life, including those that remain in the body at all times unless spilled in accidents, or deliberately spilled in altercations, up to and including death. There are, of course, specific body fluids that are expelled naturally through normal body functions—perspiration and tears are a couple which come to mind, but there are others.

Why, you may ask, would I say there is no such thing as bodily fluids? Well, just in case you do ask, I will answer in advance. Bodily is an adverb. Adverbs are usually formed by adding ly to a verb, and the new word is intended to take the action of the verb that precedes it (it usually, but not necessarily, follows the verb in the sentence).

An example would be, “He spoke softly.” He is the subject, spoke is the verb, and soft is the object of the verb, the word which takes the action of the verb, with ly added to show how he spoke—softly.

Please note that body is not a verb—it is a noun, and therefore proper English does not authorize the suffix required to transform it into an adverb. Body can stand as the object of a verb, as in “He caressed her body gently.” Her body is the object of the verb caressed, and the adverb gently tells us how he caressed it—that’s gentle with the e dropped and the y added—the l was already in place.

But I digress—on with the posting.

Example of bodily’s proper use:

“The bum was bodily ejected from the club by the bouncer.”

This tells the reader or the listener that the bouncer (subject) ejected (verb) the bum (object) bodily (how he was ejected). Not only did the bouncer eject the bum’s hat, shoes, underwear and outer clothing—he ejected his entire body including everything he was wearing—by ejecting the bum’s body, he ejected him bodily.

Example of body fluids proper use :

On arriving at the crime scene the CSI investigators collected items intended for DNA testing—included in their collection were traces of  semen, sweat, spittle, urine and feces (those CSI people are very thorough). That which they collected were traces of body fluids, not bodily fluids (judging by the above, this may well have been a sex-related crime scene).

And now, finally, the conclusion of this posting:

Nobel prize winners, doctors of medicine, doctors of letters, ambassadors, presidents (oh, yeah!), senators, congressmen and most egregious of all, newspaper columnists and virtually every talking head and commentator and journalist on television—all, almost without exception, refer to body fluids as bodily fluids—the misuse is so universally voiced that some doubt exists (mine) as to whether the proper term will ever be used. I fear that, similar to the word nuclear, the improper use of bodily as an adjective has corrupted our language and is here to stay.

Consider our penultima president (that’s the next-to-last president, the one immediately prior to the current occupant of the White House). He frequently had need to use the word nuclear, and he consistently pronounced it new-key-ler. Affected (and infected) by his eight years on television, approximately half the English-speaking world (my estimate) now pronounces the word new-key-ler. I predict that our current president, simply from exposure to television and talking heads, commentators and roving whatevers, even with his ivy-league education, may soon endorse that mispronouncement and make it mandatory by issuing a presidential edict—in that event, the word would probably appear on his teleprompter as new-key-ler.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned who use the term bodily fluids:

Bodily fluids do not exist. There is no such thing. Fluid in the body is body fluid.

A pox on the multitude of unlearned who say new-key-ler:

The word is spelled nuclear. It should be pronounced nuclear.

That’s my story and my complaint and I’m sticking to both!

 

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