Sunday, November 23, 2014

Comprise & Compose


The following sentence appeared in an editorial in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on Sunday, November 23, 2014:

“Safe Harbor, comprised of 23 area churches that open their doors to the homeless during the winter months, has said the group can’t continue indefinitely.”

My quibble is with the wording comprised of. Comprise means to include or contain; compose means made up of or formed by. Safe Harbor, included of 23 area churches . . . makes no sense.

The whole comprises the parts; the whole includes the parts:

·      Safe Harbor comprises 23 area churches.
    America comprises 50 states.
·      The federal government comprises three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
·      A full deck comprises 52 cards.
·      The English alphabet comprises 26 letters.

Alternatively, the whole is composed of its many parts; the whole is made up of or formed by its many parts:

·      Safe Harbor is composed of 23 area churches.
·      America is composed of 50 states.
·      The federal government is composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
·      A full deck is composed of 52 cards.
·      The English alphabet is composed of 26 letters.

Finally, the parts compose the whole; the parts make up or form the whole:

·      23 area churches compose Safe Harbor.
·      50 states compose America.
·      Three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—compose the federal government.
·      52 cards compose a full deck.
·      26 letters compose the English alphabet.

Here is a simple rule that will cut through confusion:
    Never, ever, write or say comprised of.

 


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Thursday, November 20, 2014

Achoo!


A listener who wished to remain anonymous asked if I knew the name of the syndrome in which a person sneezes when suddenly exposed to light. I didn’t, but I found it online. It’s called photic sneeze reflex.

There’s some confusion about its cause, but here are links to a couple of articles that take a stab at an explanation.



Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Friday, November 14, 2014

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On


Evelyn wrote to say that she had come across a strange and unfamiliar word last week while browsing through the offerings in her local library’s semi-annual book sale. The word was quassation.

The word is strange and unfamiliar to most of us because it is obsolete. When the word was last commonly used, somewhere around the late 19th century, it meant crushing medications into smaller pieces, or grinding vegetative material into pieces in order to extract their beneficial ingredients.

The word came from the Latin quassatio, a violent shaking, and later expanded into crushing or bruising. A close relative was the adjective quassative, given to shaking and trembling.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






Saturday, November 08, 2014

Wearing a Mackinaw Coat in a Dearborn Carriage


Jeff from Gulliver asked about the Mackinaw coat and the Dearborn carriage and whether they had a Michigan connection. The answer is yes and no.  


The Mackinaw coat was born when a post trader named John Askin commissioned some local women to sew 40 woolen coats for a British Army post near the Straits of Mackinac. The coats were made from blankets, some of which had a black-on-red plaid pattern.

The Dearborn carriage had no Michigan connection; in fact, it did not derive from a place name at all. It was named after Henry Alexander Dearborn of Massachusetts. At various times, he was a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives and the state senate, and he also served as the mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The carriage that he favored—a light, four-wheeled vehicle with curtained sides—took its name from him.

 

Other clothing derived from a person’s name include jackets named after Garibaldi, Eisenhower, Mao, and Nehru, along with the cardigan (Crimean War), bloomers, the Wellington boot, the Stetson hat, and the mackintosh.

 

Hawaiian shirts, Holland linen, the jersey, Capri pants, the balaclava (Crimean War), the bikini, and denim (Nimes, France) take their names from places.


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





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