Sunday, January 25, 2009


Wonderful things are brought to light when one is looking for something else. While digging out all the books in the house to catalog in LibraryThing, I have found the Eighth Grade grammar book I had thought lost forever. Plain English Handbook by J. Martyn and Anna Kathleen Walsh guided us lost and wistful, nearly-adult hopefuls through grammar and usage of the English language. With this book, if you write a coherent sentence, I can diagram it, and anyone with the least comprehension can understand what your sentence means. The collary to that is that if your sentence cannot be diagrammed, it is not coherent by definition.

Mrs. Deutsch taught us English with strict attention to composition and spelling. There were no exceptions to her rules. One did not chew gum, not even out in the hallway. She would collar you and drag you into her room to spit out the offending wad into the waste basket. As I have mentioned before, she would sing "Sixteen Tons" as she ambled up and down the aisles between desks during tests.

The word of the day for January 25, 2009 is "coherence" — Pronunciation: \kō-'hir-ən(t)s, -'her-\
Function: noun
Date: circa 1580
1: the quality or state of cohering: as a: systematic or logical connection or consistency. b: integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values. 2: the property of being
coherent [a plan that lacks coherence].

Our quotation is from Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), French essayist. “Of Friendship,” The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 28, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580):

What are these essays but grotesque and monstrous bodies, pieced together of different members, without any definite shape, without any order, coherence, or proportion, except they be accidental?




  1. I just wanted to thank you for the comment on our blog. You are the FIRST and only person to get the numbers on the side so far! None of my friends or coworkers understood it, so we'll see once we get more reactions from those sent via snail mail.

  2. I havne't diagramed a sentence since 1985. I should probably try to remember the art.


Thanks for your comment. ;^)