Can a “Chimera” be Real?

Skip Piper asks: chimerical?  How would you use this word? Chimerical [kī-mĕr’ĭ-kəl] is an adjective used to mean “imaginary” or “highly improbable.” The noun chimera [kī-mîr’ə] comes from a Greek word for “she-goat.” In Greek myth the Chimera is a hybrid creature made up of more than one animal. Figuratively, a chimera is “a figment … Read more

Twitter Fiction. Really!

The Twitter microblogging/social networking site is an invaluable resource for writers. It can, for example, provide a stream of links to useful web pages or it can enable writers to keep in touch with editors, publishers or other writers.  You may not know, however, that Twitter can also be used to publish fiction directly. This … Read more

“Adequate” is Adequate

From a reader: let me ask if the following usage is correct: ‘The food is adequate enough’. Like unique, the adjective adequate says it all. adequate: equal to, or fully sufficient for a specified or implied requirement; often: narrowly or barely sufficient The addition of “enough” in the following examples is redundant: If you work … Read more

Difference between “Pressing” and “Ironing”

Sridhar Nyapathi asks What is the difference between pressing clothes and ironing clothes? To me, in a domestic context, “ironing” clothes requires more preparation than “pressing” them. If I’m getting ready to go out and discover that my clean clothing is slightly wrinkled, I’ll heat the iron and make a quick pass to smooth the … Read more

I Pity the Full!

Something strange has happened to the useful expression “foolproof.” Many writers are writing “full proof” to mean “safe against misinterpretation, misuse, or failure”: How to make a contract full-proof CREATING A FULL PROOF MARKETING CAMPAIGN Reduce Stretch Marks From Pregnancy – Try These Full-proof Remedies Steps to a Full Proof Insect Free House 10 Full … Read more

Plumber and Related Words

This post was triggered by the misspelling of the word plumber in the following passage: Your plummer can be as creative or more than your favorite rock star or painter… What happens in his head when he needs to find a way to solve your unique sink problem is the same process that takes place … Read more

To Open a Pandora’s Box

I’ve found an expression that annoys me more than “deja vu all over again.” It’s “a box of Pandoras.” Denmark has tumbled into a box of Pandoras. Meryl may regret having opened this whole box of Pandoras (language site, discussion of the difference between “can” and “may”) My, I do seem to have opened a … Read more