Posts tagged “speech”

We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately — but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes — but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.

I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: “Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights — then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fourth Inaugural Address
Saturday, January 20, 1945

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

Whether or Not

The words or not never follow the word whether. That’s it. That’s the rule. Whether implies or not. You don’t ever need to say both of them. The words or not should never be spoken. (They should certainly never be written.) Whether implies “or not”. Get it?

To the political analyst who discussed Obama‘s campaign this morning on NPR: I’m sorry to say that you lost any credibility you had the moment you said that something was furmaliar. Nothing is furmaliar. Lots and lots of things are familiar. There is no r in the middle of that word. It’s not an accent. It’s not “the way we say it here”. It’s not anything other than wrong. You disagree. I know you do. So, Mr. Political Analyst, imagine this: If you and I were engaged in a conversation about Obama and I pronounced his name Orbama, would you correct me? I think you would. If I said, “Oh, that’s just the way I say it,” what would you think? Good day, sir. I said, “Good day!”

Grammar Matters (Still)

Recently I saw a commercial for Sylvan Learning Centers. This is a company that is selling products to help your children do well in school. The ad showed a teenage girl gabbing on the telephone. The voice-over said, “Sally sure can talk fast. We can help her read fast,” or something like that. Apparently grammar

How to Pronounce the Word Height

I want you to stop what you’re doing. I want you to look at the word below. I want you to speak it aloud. height How did it sound? Say it again. Did it rhyme with “right”? It should have. Say it again. Did it rhyme with “byte”? It should have. Say it again. Aloud,


In which he is annoyed by a television anchor


Not words: acrost, irregardless, nucular, supposably, nother, alot, alright Not verbs: interface, input, impact, itch

Boston Accents

Boston Accents, and Why They’re Sexy “Women are drawn to young and developing children because they appeal to our maternal instincts. Boston accents mimic a child’s speech and thus also appeal to our maternal instincts. Therefore, women find Boston accents to be cute. Consequently, a male who has a Boston accent is sub-consciously associated with

What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

A few years ago I was trying to determine what cocktails I could make with the alcohol I had at home. I searched the App Store but couldn't find an app that would let me do that, so I built one.


You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.