It depends on what ‘is’ is!

22 Jun

Bill Clinton We laughed at his disclaimer, but Bill Clinton had a point.  A naked word is clueless.  The first rule in logic is: Clarify your terms!

But what is a term? A word set in a context.  So, in one sense, Bill pointed out the obvious – ‘IS’ as a word takes on significance only in a context.

Take, for example, the unaccompanied word, ‘set’.  How can ‘set’ be employed?

  • a lamp, set upon a hill
  • a man, set out on a journey
  • my cat, set upon lapping some milk
  • a victim, set up by a Ponzi scheme
  • the book, set down on a table

Words and terms matter, dear friend. May we take time to use particular care to avoid confusion and communicate with accuracy and clarity.

 

2 Responses to “It depends on what ‘is’ is!”

  1. Patricia Gray June 22, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    I certainly agree. I should have a red pencil in my hand when I read our local newspaper – and then send it to the editor!! The current word that has me wondering is “fraught” – decided to look it up, and saw that it could be used with another word, like “fraught with peril” – which is how I’ve always heard it. But now, people say, “Such and such was fraught.” Period. I don’t get that one!

  2. Maria June 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Trish – I have all sorts of word bugaboos that cause me pause. Then I have to get off my high horse and realize the ‘incorrect’ use of a word is due to the numerous times they have heard it used that way!

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