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Quote of the Day

“Those who wring their hands about the decline of the language sometimes worry too much about the wrong things. They observe with horror that people confuse uninterested with disinterested, or don’t know when to say fewer and when to say less, or fumble in their use of the apostrophe or other punctuation marks. I share a due sense of irritation about points like those. But the more meaningful decline of the language doesn’t involve the presence of mistakes. It involves absences that are easier to overlook: the abandonment of half the orchestra, the erosion of rhetorical ability, the dwindling of attention spans, the scarcity of speech that inspires and rouses and strikes deep. A politician rises in a debate and speaks with utter vacuity and with the rhetorical sophistication of an adolescent. The modern guardian of English usage tends to look on without comment or alarm because the statesman was free from error. He was merely terrible.”

Ward Farnsworth, Farnsworth’s Classical English Style (2020)



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