WHEN to protest against new words or new uses of old words, and when to accept them, is not easy to decide. If purists had ruled from the beginning, language would never have progressed. Without hesitation, however, we may condemn perversions of words, and may frown on the pedantry which adopts long words where short ones would be as good or better.

Some misapplications of words that are common in America have often vexed me--one especially, the use of the word "claim" instead of "say" or "assert" or "affirm" or "allege"; e.g.--"I claim that he knew all about it before he laid the bet." This abuse has of late, I am sorry to say, made its appearance in English journals of repute, even in The Times. A monthly magazine furnishes me with a double example. An English critic and the American writer he criticizes, both pervert the word in the space of three sentences. Speaking of the Cubans the one says:--" The claim that they are not capable of governing themselves has not been established in the writer's experience"; and the other says:--"It is not intended in this description of affairs to claim


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