Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dear Sir,

If you want to sound like a pompous windbag, a great way to do so is by using plenty of words that are large or infrequently used. It works even better if you're not clear on their meaning yourself. "Diatribe" means "a bitter, abusive denunciation," not a "conversation" or a "disagreement." I futhermore regret to inform you that capitalizing nouns is not an acceptable way to add emphasis; this trend went out of fashion more than a century ago. Currently, one should only capitlize proper nouns, or words that begin a sentence. Titles may be capitalized when referring to a particular person including that title, e.g., Vice President Smith. They should be left lower case when the name is omitted.

With regard to cliches, I don't believe they're very useful when the words in them are mixed up, and frequently don't do much to clarify meaning. You suggest we should "Toe in." I'm unclear if you mean that we ought to "Toe the line," and, if so, what rules you mean us to follow. If instead you mean we should "pitch in" in the sense of "contribute," then perhaps you could say that. It would be much clearer for all of us.

Finally, a note on prepositions: perhaps you became tangled up WITH certain members of the club, but I should hope you did not become tangled up IN them.

In closing, I would suggest you begin by taking a course in remedial grammar, followed by an introductory textbook (any ought to do fine) on modern American vocabulary. This should prevent future confusion, and, eventually, may allow you to sound as pompous as you like.

Kindest regards,

Yours Truly


  • At 5:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is hilarious. To whom did you actually write this letter? To what was it in response?

  • At 10:51 AM , Blogger Argentius said...

    I did indeed write it to a certain pompous windbag who knows his own identity, and for the moment I don't care to share that identity with the world, because instead I chose to publish my sarcastic little reply.


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