Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure, Only Dorkier

I actually like reading the dictionary. It's quite well written. As a father of a four-year-old inquisitor, I know how hard it is to put a word's meaning into words without actually using the word itself. In case you can't tell by the numerous links on this blog, Merriam-Webster is my favorite to read.

I don't read it cover to cover, though. I read it like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I look up the meaning of one word only to find another fascinating word in the definition. So I look that one up and find a word I don't even know. Then I see that word has a related word in its etymology that simply must be looked up for its etymology. It's quite fun in a "what would Nancy Drew do if using words incorrectly were a crime" kind of way.

Tonight, I looked up repartee only to find that A) I had spelled it wrong, B) it demanded none of the accents ague I thought were necessary, and C) it had four possible pronunciations. Then I was caught off guard by the word adroitness. Then I discovered a phonetic mark I didn't know the meaning of, and that led me down a useless rabbit trail. But I was also interested to know that dexterous was a synonym of adroit, because I thought dexterity was more of a physical thing. But, as it turns out, its primary meaning is more about having a quick mind than having fast fingers.

I could go on, and sometimes I do. But I stopped at dexterous. I can't wait to start reading again tomorrow to see how this bad boy ends.

1 comment:

  1. I must know...did you scan in that picture of the Choose your own adventure? I loved and hated those books. I knew I couldn't be a story teller because inevitably, I'd choose the outcome that would end the story right away. And aren't all of those books written in like second person? It'd be great to see a post on voice, tense, person, etc., and the ugliness that spawns from their misuse/inconsistencies.

    I LOVE this blog, Adam. I want more!!!


I welcome all comments and arguments, especially if you cite your sources (no need to use MLA style or anything).