Magazine article Policy & Practice

Say What? According to Dorothy Parker, If You Have Any Young Friends Who Aspire to Become Writers, the Second-Greatest Favor You Can Do Them Is to Present Them with Copies of 'The Elements of Style.' the First-Greatest, of Course, Is to Shoot Them Now While They're Happy

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Say What? According to Dorothy Parker, If You Have Any Young Friends Who Aspire to Become Writers, the Second-Greatest Favor You Can Do Them Is to Present Them with Copies of 'The Elements of Style.' the First-Greatest, of Course, Is to Shoot Them Now While They're Happy

Article excerpt

A friend in Florida writes to ask about the appropriate plural of "memorandum." Should it be "memoranda" or "memorandums?" The latter is gaining ground but the former is still the more common usage. Perhaps we should just say "memos."

(Editor's Note: Most publication style books prefer memorandums, similar to stadiums)

In the why-I-will-never-do-well-in-politics category is this from my vacation this summer: My brother-in-law works for a politician in an unnamed Northern state who was giving a news conference. He asked me along so I could escape from my Yankee in-laws complaining about the oppressive heat (it was 84 that day). Afterward we talked and the politician asked me why he had seen a brief frown on my face during his news conference. After trying to dodge the question, I finally said that he had talked about how "impactful" something was and that I feared there was no such word. He then asked my brother-in-law if I was right. I'm hoping my brother-in-law will be talking to me again when we visit next year.

The latest euphemism for firing someone comes from a retired human relations director friend of mine. He says that the staff his company in Ohio would lay off were "dispositioned. …

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