This video has been making the rounds lately and I haven’t seen anything I loved so much in awhile. Stephen Fry is infinitely quotable in this love letter to language, but my favourite line has to be, “Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to?” I almost gave a cheer of approval when he said this in the video. Yes Stephen, yes! I wonder the same thing! Do they?! They do not. I wish they did.
I believe that words are powerful and we should take pride AND pleasure in choosing the ones we use to express ourselves. I won’t say you’re pretty when what I mean is you’re radiant. And I won’t say it’s delicious when what I mean is it tastes like ambrosia from heaven’s kitchen. And I won’t say yes when what I mean is absolutely! One of the reasons Spoonbill and I became such close friends is that we share this love and respect for words and language. Spoonbill definitely has a more vast knowledge of technically correct grammar rules, but she is never pedantic. And she is completely upfront about her own knowledge gaps in this area. Direct quote: “I’m not very clear on the subjunctive case.”
I’m sure we can all relate. But instead of feeling guilty about the subjunctive case, perhaps we should think of grammar as the display case for the most treasured words. Exhibit them proudly! Share them with others! Let’s celebrate synonyms and create elation from adjectives!