Thursday, June 22, 2006

Time, the, person and other Oxford tidbits

Interesting item from the Associated Press today:

According to the concise Oxford English Dictionary, "time" is the most often used noun in the English language.

Figures, doesn't it? We seemingly have so little of it, yet we obsess over it all the, er, time.

Think back to that episode of "Andy Griffith." (Yeah, I know, everything goes back to Mayberry.)

Remember the one where the visiting pastor from New York delivered the sermon on "What's Your Hurry?" Gomer and Barney keep trying to fall asleep during the service.

Then the gang gets all excited about putting on a band concert. They rush, rush, rush everywhere they go. Gomer's worried about spiders. Andy's trying to get the band in harmony. Aunt Bee and Clara are sewing up old uniforms.

Suddenly everybody begins yelling at each other. Life becomes hectic and unpleasant.

Isn't that the way it goes?

"The" is the most commonly used word overall, by the way. I'm just glad it isn't "I," which did make the list.

"Person" is ranked No. 2 in nouns, with "man" at No. 7 and "woman" at No. 14. Some things, sadly, never change.

I don't know why. Women rule this world. And, trust me, that's a good thing. (Well, unless it's Hillary Clinton ruling the world, but that's another story.)

"Government" showed up at No. 20. Sigh. That's still too high.

Course if you read many newspaper columnists, you'd swear that "I" would be No. 1, as much as we seem to use it.

Which is a joke. The story should always be about somebody else. Not about you. The reader doesn't care about you. Or shouldn't. (Think Dan Rather.)

The best at this was Charles Kuralt. His "On the Road" pieces were brilliant. And never about him.

Oh, well. Gotta get back to work. I'm running out of, yep, you guessed it, time.


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