Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Clever Turns of Phrase

Thirteen Clever Turns of Phrase found in Blogs Recently

If you have read my blog more than once or twice, you know that I am intensely interested in the use of language. I particularly enjoy a good "turn of phrase."

What are "turns of phrase"?

The Phrase Finder says:"To give distinctive, artistic, or graceful form to: 'turn a phrase.'

"The American Heritage Dictionary of idioms says a turn of phrase is: A particular arrangement of words, as in _I'd never heard that turn of phrase before_, or _An idiom can be described as a turn of phrase_. This idiom alludes to the turning or shaping of objects (as on a lathe), a usage dating from the late 1600s.

Here are some great "turns of phrase" I have found in blogs recently:

1. Lars, from Brandywine books, wrote:

I don’t have much in the way of ideas, so I’ll tell you about my day and hope something clever turns up, like a murder weapon in a nearby dumpster.

2. Again Lars, from Brandywine Books, wrote

It was a day with ample room for improvement, weather-wise. The sky was overcast, and sometimes it rained without enthusiasm.

3. Another example from the fine writing of Lars at Brandywine Books:

...successfully installed my mailbox. It sticks out like an inflamed pimple against the pale green of my house. But it has the Norwegian flag windsock I hung from the porch awning to balance it, and I think overall it lends the neighborhood just that element of garish tackiness it had been missing before
my arrival.

4. I regret that I cannot credit the next example. If you wrote this, please let me know. The writer was telling about a long, late night drive during which he/she came upon another car

...driving at the speed of snail

5. D. Challener Roe, in his very entertaining blog, Rough Draft, wrote in partial explanation of his infrequent blogposts of late:

My insomnia has, rather suddenly, decided to take its week of paid vacation. If it’s staying at your house, I’m sorry.

6. Uisce of Whiskey Talking often entertains with bits like this from an old Thursday Thirteen:

It was some kind of virus that asked me to dance nearly one week ago. My mild yet stubborn asthma decided to have some fun and invited bronchitis to move in. My doctor was not pleased by this little party and said everyone needs to leave.

7. I frequently quote from the blog of Tim at Mother Tongue Annoyances. The title of his blog tells you that I have a kindred spirit here. He wrote last week of his experience with "line jumping" at his local bank.

Emerging from what only could have been somewhere south of Hazzard County, a towheaded, lumbering "good ol' boy" strode directly in front of me—he most certainly did NOT pass GO and did NOT collect 200 dollars—entered the bankers' area, and plopped his indigo Wranglers plumb down into one of Stephanie's client chairs beside her desk!

8. A fellow teacher who writes Right on the Left Coast uses clever turns of phrase that catch my attention, too. This one is not particularly clever, but it is so SUCCINCT -- right on the money.

We should teach the children at school, not raise them.

9. And of course, Norma at Collecting My Thoughts and 6 other blogs, one of the most prolific bloggers in bloggerdom, has the vocabulary of a former librarian and never fails to entertain and inform. She wrote this in a post about her brother-in-law and his green thumb. She is describing a rare orchid.

It is now doing its twice a year prom dance and this year has 12 blooms.

10. I enjoyed reading a Monday Memory at The Median Sib. I laughed at her description of her acting debut in kindergarten:

My starring role was one of the flowers along the path that Goldilocks wandered on her way to the three bears’ cottage. I don’t recall if I had a speaking part or not - “Please pick me, Goldilocks!” or “Don’t go into the bears’ house!”, perhaps?

11. Ruth at Ruthlace wrote a piece on re-membering. This statement was particularly well-written to create the greatest impact of meaning.

Re-membering is the reconstructing of one’s members, the figures who properly belong to one’s prior selves. Through re-membering, a life is given shape and form and extends back into the past and forward into the future as an edited story. Without re-membering, we lose our history and ourselves.

12. The last two turns of phrase are up to you. Leave me a comment with some of your favorites.

Update: Norma at Collecting My Thoughts added this one from What Would Jesus Blog?: "Yesterday, I was as sick as a cat with a rabid gerbil in his throat." (An aside here: I googled this blogname on Google Blog Search. Believe it or not, there are two blogs with this name. After briefly looking over both sites and not finding the quote, I decided not to link the blog name here but just to mention it.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Kimmie -

Stacie -

Lazy Daisy -

Yellow Rose’s Garden -

Kelly -

Heather Smith -

Karin -

d. challenger roe -

ivoryfrog -

mar -

Frog Legs -

Norma -

Jane -

Better safe than sorry -

Tanya -

Terrell -

Wystful1 -

Ardice -

Carol -

Fat Skinny Girl -


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Rich T said...

That was genuinely interesting (I'm not a robot btw). I examine people on their use of language and it's really lovely when a candidate produces an original or unusual turn of phrase.

Anonymous said...

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