Tag Archives: confusion

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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