Monday, April 20, 2009


I walked past a church yesterday, and on the sign outside there was a message that read something like:

"It is a crime when good persons do nothing."

Hmm. I have a problem with this. Not the sentiment - which is fine. My problem is with the word persons.

My distaste for the word has two levels.
First: the aural aesthetic sucks.
Second, but relatedly: We have a word in the English language for the plural of "person". That word is PEOPLE. Oh, you might argue, but "persons" implies an individuality that "people" doesn't have. Well, to you I would say that we also have a plural for the word "individual". That word is INDIVIDUALS.

I might as well tell you the other words I can't stand (some arbitrarily, some for actual reasons):
utilize (Why not just use "USE"? There's no economy of language here.)
commentator (Why not just "commenter"?)

There are words I love, of course. In fact, what made me think of this in the first place is that a woman in my play told me that I used her favorite word in the show: thwack. That's a pretty good word. Others:

...just to name a few.


Scarlet Lily said...

I think I actually cringed when I read the word crotch - it really is horrible.

On a nicer note, Violet was one of the names we were considering for the baby girl, but it got eliminated since she would sound like a crayon once we paired it with her last name.

Just Another Idealist said...

Sushi. It evens sounds icky ;-)

Ouiser said...

i knew a guy in lexington who would say he was "efforting" instead of trying. i immediately decided he was an idiot.

we all know my least favorite words. they include just about every word for a female's private area...and the word moist. Uuuughh. I just threw up a little from typing that awful word.

die Frau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
die Frau said...

EVERYONE dislikes the word "moist", for good reason! A few others I can't stomach are creamy, packet, and like (because my students overuse it: "And I was, like, wondering, like, when, like, is the homework, like, due?")

I suppose it said "persons" because they wanted to refer to (funny enough) discrete individuals and not a group, as you wrote. I guess "good individuals" didn't have the same ring. I try to avoid the word "persons" altogether.

I also like the words sprocket, dodgy, pickle, mellifluous, and tintinnabulation