Mr. Language Man Strikes Again


My Wife's Card - Isn't She Romantic?

This Valentine’s Day evening my wife, daughter and I were eating a lovely meal prepared by said wife (I did the dishes, daughter bought the vino), when the subject of the evening turned to food . . . more precisely, food that is delivered by grateful former patients to my daughter’s nurses’ station at the hospital. She said that usually it’s in the form of baked goods – cakes, pies, cupcakes, muffins – but this morning two McDonalds bags showed up, one stuffed with breakfast sandwiches (McMuffins, etc.) and the other with crunchy, delicious hash browns. “Finally, something practical!” she exclaimed.

I reflected on the breakfast provided each Wednesday morning by our friends from Shamrock Title – Colossal-brand (and -sized) doughnuts, breakfast burritos from Anita’s, and the occasional muffin – and my wife commented that, just maybe, someone might occasionally like to have some fruit, and suggesting that I could bring some. My response was that we appeared to have only one vegan (pronounced by me “vay-gan”), which elicited the interjection, “vee-gan!” from my daughter.

My kids are always on my butt for saying “Marry-o” instead of “Mah-rio” whether referring to Nintendo or Batali, and I acknowledge that my pronunciation skills are not up to my spelling and usage standards. Still, it intrigues me why we would say “vee-gan” when we don’t say “vee-gatarian” or “veeg-tables.” Why don’t we say “veh-jan?”

Mr. Language Man

Mr. Language Man

And now that Mr. Language Man is loose, why are so many otherwise knowledgeable and intelligent and seemingly erudite people caught up in the “loose” vs “lose” problem? Every day I see another article – often an article in a supposedly edited source – that misuses “loose” in place of “lose.”

Clearly, this had nothing to do with it being Valentine’s Day, but so what.

And yes, we will eventually get to “affect” and “effect.” Keep your shirt on.


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