Aim high

At the link—

Presentation literacy isn’t an optional extra for the few. It’s a core skill for the twenty-first century. It’s the most impactful way to share who you are and what you care about. If you can learn to do it, your self-confidence will flourish, and you may be amazed at the beneficial impact it can have on your success in life, however you might choose to define that.

If you commit to being the authentic you, I am certain that you will be capable of tapping into the ancient art that is wired inside us. You simply have to pluck up the courage to try.

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A Classical View

Looks like Sallust might have weighed in on the question in our Table Topics contest. If that’s all he had to say, though, it seems likely he would have been disqualified for time.

Congratuations to our winner, Prema. Plan now to attend the Area 35 contest on October 11 at NFCU.

Why you should take the Word of the Day seriously

Emily Dickinson’s poetry launches   meditation on the importance of choosing the right word—in writing, in conversation—at the New York Times. She ends up this way

Coming across this idea as eloquently expressed as it was by this writer really made me stop, and think, and recognize the obvious truth of what he says — as if I’d known it before, but never felt it so sharply as when he articulated it well. I have an experience of recognition, not just in response to others’ ideas, but on the order of a single word. It happens, in my own writing, in those moments when you know there’s a perfect word, even though you have not written it yet. You cast about for it, and over time, some obscure word will come to you — your mind knows it’s there. Often, it’s a word with such an extraordinary precision that you wonder how it survived. You think, This must have come down from early modern English or Anglo-Saxon — how did it come to birth? How did it survive? Who was it that needed this word first and coined it? It’s amazing. You wonder how many people have had any use for it over the last 300 years, but there it is.

The essay is worth a trip to the Times site.

Weekly Word Watch

Looks like Weekly Word Watch is now a regular feature on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. It’s a pretty good discussion of words that are being noticed right now (this week’s words are animoji, bardo, bodega, fatberg, and Rohingya) and would be a good source for Word of the Day assignments. For updates follow @OxfordWords and @mashedradish (contributor John Kelly) on Twitter.

Politics rears its ugly head

You think the grammarians aren’t vigilant and everywhere? In this morning’s New York Times—

“With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before,” he tweeted. “Go Congress, go!” Negative thinkers pointed out that the hurricane devastation required federal spending, not revenue reduction. Also that “is needed” was grammatically … tragic.

Gail Collins in “Donald Trump Has Changed His Mind — a Heck of a Lot.”

Watch what you say (and tweet).

“Discourse Pragmatic Marker”

Michael Enright and a guest take a look at our use of the word so (about 15 minutes to listen). It’s not nearly as dry as it sounds. The discusssion just might make you think we should look a little more kindly on so and even um. We may have anticipated this discussion in 2013 in Didn’t We Just Hear about This? and we actually discussed “discourse particles” in Thinking Words.

Michael’s essay on the dystopian summer we’re leaving behind us is also a treat (a five-minute listen), but it’s here because Michael works “twitchy” into it and because it ends up with citations of E. B. White’s famous letter about hope and Winston Churchill.

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