Write Word, Right Word, Wrong Word, Onward

porticos in Bologna, Italia

Write Word, Right Word, Wrong Word, Onward

A comparison on word usage and how the usage comes before the word gets spoken/written:

First, from our pal Emerson (1803-1882):

No man can write well who thinks there is any choice of words for him. The laws of composition are as strict as those of sculpture and architecture. There is always one line that ought to be drawn or one proportion that should be kept & every other line or proportion is wrong, and so far wrong as it deviates from this. So in writing, there is always a right word, and every other than that is wrong. There is no beauty in words except in their collocation. The effect of a fanciful word misplaced, is like that of a horn of exquisite polish growing on a human head.

(Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks, Vol. III (1826–1832), ed. William H. Gilman et al, (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1960–82),Vol. III (1826–1832), July 8, 1831, pp. 270–71)

Next from the apothogetic Karl Kraus (1874-1936):

If there is a misprint in a sentence and it still makes sense, that sentence was not an idea.

(Half-Truths & one-and-a-half truths: selected aphorisms, ed. and trans. Harry Zohn, (Chicago University Press, 1976) p. 66)


Leave a Reply