Well Spoken Is Half Sung

I am very much in favor of supporting the use of correct English in writing. I’m sure I commit many egregious errors in my writing, but I attribute this to the complexity of the language and not my attention to correct usage. I have written before about a wonderful tool called The Vocabula Review that is available online for a small fee. Now there is a daily feed from TVR which expands on the idea of the Word-of-the-Day with a short lesson in usage and grammar. Every day I take three minutes to read something I didn’t realize about the language or skim over examples of incorrect usage that should be obvious or scratch my head over rules and suggestions that I might question.

It’s called The Daily Vocabula: Tidbits From the Vocabula Review … get it!

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Diagramming Sentences

I have been a subscriber to The Vocabula Review for years now; in fact I have a lifetime subscription and have recommended the site to many people. The way I see it, the more you expose yourself to the details of language—syntax, grammar, etc.—the better you will be able to write and think … or is it the other way around? Who said, “That which is not well written is not well thought”?

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How Wise Is Proverbial Wisdom?

Richard Lederer has a fun article in this month’s Vocabula Review which questions proverbial wisdom, especially when there are examples of conflicting advice. Lederer writes:

A proverb is a well-known, venerable saying rooted in philosophical or religious wisdom. Just about everybody knows some proverbs, and we often base decisions on these instructive maxims. But when you line up proverbs that spout conflicting advice, you have to wonder if these beloved aphorisms aren’t simply personal observations masquerading as universal truths. [ya think?]

How can it be true that you should look before you leap but make hay while the sun shines? It’s better to be safe than sorry, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Haste makes waste, but he who hesitates is lost. Patience is a virtue, but opportunity knocks but once. Slow and steady wins the race, but gather ye rosebuds while ye may. A stitch in time saves nine, but better late than never. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but forewarned is forearmed. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, but don’t cross that bridge until you come to it. There’s no time like the present, but well begun is half done. All things come to him who waits, but strike while the iron is hot. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but faint heart never won fair maiden.

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Lederer goes on to provide a quite extensive list of opposing pairs of proverbs. I urge you to check out this list and recommend The Vocabula Review (TVR) to anyone who is concerned for writing good, effective, and elegant English.