Tag Archives: assiduity

Take that, Henry James.

Sometimes writing these sentences makes me querulous because I lack the perspicacity, trenchancy and assiduity to think of ways to use the words, instead I find myself incommoded and want to prevaricate.

Hebdomadal ReviewHenry James isn’t the only one who can write complex sentences.  Go ahead take these words, write up your own little ditty, and post it in the comments.  It will make me less querulous.  Here are the words:

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


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Maybe If I Diagram It

Classic Word of the DayI’m sure your assiduity to yesterday’s Classic Word of the Day made you realize that there would not be a new word today.  Now, if you have not already done so, please use your trenchancy to help me decipher that complicated sentence.

Thank you.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


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Two for One

Classic Word of the Dayassiduity – n.  diligence, close attention to what one is doing

trenchancy – n.  keen perceptiveness

Classical Usage:  James throws these two words into one big sentence in Chapter XX about the ex-patriots that Mrs. Touchett spends time with in Paris.  Isabel saw them arrive with a good deal of assiduity at her aunt’s hotel, and pronounced on them with a trenchancy doubtless to be accounted for by the temporary exaltation of her sense of human duty.

Classically Mad Usage:  Huh?  I have no idea what our dear friend Henry is trying to say about these Europe loving Americans.  Maybe if I do that old vocabulary trick that I use on my son and substitute a bunch of words I can figure out what he’s talking about.  Let’s try it:  Isabel saw the Americans arrive very diligently at the caravansary where her aunt stayed, and declared on them with a keen perceptiveness that was because of the short-lived importance of her understanding of respecting people.

That made it worse.



Posted by on January 30, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


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