Favorite

Words, June 17 

Candy is dandy, but E.T. never misses:

"The scene in E.T. where Elliot and E.T. are in quarantine and Elliott thinks E.T. is dead makes me ball every time. I think it's the very basic and unconditional love they have for each other that makes it so moving."

Very basic baseball:

"Sourdine just pitched lights out. He bared down and got the job done." Some years back, there was a major-league pitcher who was married to a stripper. He let her do all the baring.

Beau Dayshus writes:

"In a Vanity Fair article about Martin Amis, his friend comments that Amis once remarked that the title of Dickens' 'Our Mutual Friend' contains a solecism, that one can have common friends but not mutual ones. I checked Webster's to make certain I knew what a solecism was, but I'm still muddle-headed about the distinction between 'mutual' and 'common.' "

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage says:

"Common has numerous meanings, but it contrasts with mutual in emphasizing sharing rather than reciprocation in a relationship, as in common origin or common interest. Mutual involves reciprocity. Mutual satisfaction implies the satisfaction which two people give to each other, and mutual agreement emphasizes the fact that something is agreed to by both parties. ... Mutual has also long been used to refer to a reciprocal relationship which is enjoyed by more than one person, as in the title of Charles Dickens's 'Our Mutual Friend,' published in 1865. Yet for some reason this usage was censured in the later 19th Century, as the Oxford Dictionary notes. The dictionary also noted that mutual was the only possible word in expressions like Dickens's title. (When class distinctions were so important, who would take the risk of referring to 'our common friend'!)"

Even in America today, our common friend could easily be misunderstood as derogatory. Don't stew over the distinction between mutual and common, Beau. Chuck Dickens knew what he was doing.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Art bull

    • the nice thing about art is that it is what it is, but what it…

    • on April 22, 2017
  • Re: Executionpalooza

    • Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everyone... Work for three to five hrs a day and start…

    • on April 21, 2017
  • Re: Erasing humanity

    • Exactly how I feel only written much better than I could.

    • on April 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation