The right word

I recall that the difference between the right word and the almost right word, according to Pudd’nhead Wilson’s calendar, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. William Buckley has occasionally found the right word to be unusual. In defendeing his use of the right word even when it is unusual, Buckley has gone so far as to claim that “those who say that the average American is incapable of appreciating the meaning of the word ‘energumen’ are, in my humble opinion, nuts.”
In her Star Tribune column today, Katherine Kersten addresses the subject from the other side of the cognitive spectrum: “Limp language leaves kids with an awesome paucity of speech.” Brothers and sisters, is there any among you who wants to testify? Write kkersten@startribune.com. Or post a comment on her Star Tribune blog Think Again.

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