Hosted by Freda’s Voice, The Friday 56 follows these simple rules:
- Grab a book, any book.
- Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
- Find any sentence (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
- Post it.
Not that I’m trying to bore you readers to tears, but my current read is, yet again, of polarizing interest to the lovers of literature. Bill Bryson, one of my favourite authors, wrote this 2002 book after his experience as a copy editor for the London Times. Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words provides real examples of the many times writers fall into the numerous traps the English language. Full of misused, misunderstood, or misquoted words or phrases, Bryson’s book is full of interesting tidbits, and provides clarity for many.
“decimate. Literally the word means to reduce by a tenth (from the ancient practice of punishing the mutinous or cowardly by killing every tenth man). By extension it may be used to describe the inflicting of heavy damage, but it should never be used to denote annihilation, as in this memorably excruciating sentence cited by Fowler: “Dick, hotly pursue by the scalp-hunter, turned in his saddle, fired and literally decimated his opponent.” Equally to be avoided are contexts in which the word’s use is clearly inconsistent with its literal meaning, as in “Frost decimated an estimated 80 percent of the crops.””