Thoughts on genre, language, grammar, and other
rhetorical and linguistic norms
rhetorical and linguistic norms
By now, everyone surely knows about “alternative facts.” Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer gave numbers for the crowd size at his inauguration that differed drastically from those of the National Park Service and media. In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, counselor to Trump Kellyanne Conway called the administration’s statements “alternative facts.”
The biggest problem here is that Conway called those statements “facts.” Todd pointed out that four of the five “facts” Spicer told were “just not true.” As he said, “Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”
It matters what we call things. It matters what words we use.
Words matter–that’s becoming a familiar topic for my blog, as some of you may recognize. It matters whether we call it “locker room talk” or “sexual assault.” It matters whether we call them “alt-right” or “white supremacists.” It even matters whether we say someone “passed” or “died” and whether the cause was a “crash” or an “accident.”
It matters whether we call them “alternative facts,” “falsehoods,” or just plain “lies.”
As I’ve explored in those other posts
“the words we use shape our perceptions and attitudes.”
If we come to accept statements contrary to documented facts as “alternatives” rather than wrong, then there’s nothing keeping anyone from asserting anything. In fact, Spicer argued yesterday that Trump can keep claiming with no substantiated evidence that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election, causing him to lose the popular vote, because it is his “long-standing belief.” The fact that there’s no evidence to support that claim—in fact, there is evidence to the contrary—matters not at all if “alternative facts” are justified by “belief.” We are indeed in a post-truth world.
We have the power to resist.
My words from discussing locker room talk, with no idea it would be relevant again so soon:
“The power of naming is that it’s not individual, but collective. One person can insist on framing it as “locker room talk,” but the framing succeeds only if others accept it. That’s the difference between naming and “spin.” Any publicist can attempt to spin a story, to reframe what happened in a different light. But naming comes from the culture that’s there, the beliefs and attitudes emerging from who we are and who we want to be, a framing already present among us.”
We the people have the power to refuse that naming, at least when it’s new. The news media have the power to help the culture resist not just by calling out those counter-factual statements but also by choosing their words carefully when they report. The New York Times analyst Dan Barry explained the New York Times decision to call the current administration’s statements about illegal voting--and other demonstrably false repeated statements--“lies,” not soften them as “falsehoods” or "untruths" because 'Words matter." To call them “lies” is to assert intent behind those falsehoods, stating falsehoods as truths with full knowledge that they are false. Are these “alternative facts” just non-factual “falsehoods,” as Todd more gently named them? Or are these “alternative facts” better called knowing and deliberate “lies”? The media are making those decisions now, so now is a critical time in the collective’s ability to resist.
The news media have long carried the role of watchdog, a clichéd name that presents the media as protectors of the people, barking and attacking when dangers threaten us. The current administration is trying to shift that perspective by shifting words. White House strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon this past week labeled the media as “the opposition party.”
“You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
Notice the repetition, and not just of “opposition” but “opposition party”—you are the opposition party, the media is the opposition party, you are the opposition party. Say it long enough and maybe it will stick. To reframe the news media from “watchdog” to “opposition party” is to shift their role as protector of the people to protector of political interests.
It’s no coincidence that Amazon sold out of paper versions of 1984, George Orwell’s classic 1949 novel about life under a totalitarian regime. To control the people and remove their trust in their own perceptions of reality, the regime controls the language, using “Newspeak” to redefine “alternative facts.”
“War is peace.
We are well past the year 1984 but not past the danger of Newspeak. Turning one powerful person’s beliefs into “alternative facts,” with anyone who says differently being the “opposition party,” threatens to make us question our own perception of reality and to question the reliability of our news sources.
We are not there yet. Individuals are renaming reality, but the collective has not yet accepted it. Words and meanings are sneaky, though. They infiltrate the collective consciousness and reshape our thinking unawares—unless we resist that lack of awareness.
Each of us can help resist. Challenge the media to be blunt and direct, and support the news outlets that in that way risk the administration’s punishments. And watch your own words, on social media, in classrooms, in conversations with friends. Stay alert to euphemisms, and call a lie a lie. “Alternative facts” is so outrageous a renaming that Todd jumped on it immediately. Bannon was far from subtle in pounding at the media as “opposition party.” But other attempts at renaming will be subtler and more insidious.
When pronouns define a “we” that excludes large numbers of people* and a “them” that now seems to include you, beware.
When well-established scientific evidence becomes part of a “debate” with “two sides,” beware.
When the powers-that-be use the word “Islam” repeatedly and only in the label “radical Islamic terrorists,” beware.
Now is the time, as it is happening and we can still recognize it. Don’t let powerful individuals usurp the power of naming. Assert our collective power to resist. Insist that our collective culture is not post-truth but knows the difference between fact and belief. Insist that we all, without excluding anyone, must watch what we say. Because we know these alternative truths--
Resistance is not futile.
*(As, to be fair, my own use of “we” in this column assumes an audience of people who privilege evidence over belief. Reread this post; notice and question the meaning of my “we” and “them.”)
This past week was stuffed with interesting blog topics, from the varieties of protest signs to the rhetorical meaning of fashions to the power of words to shape our perceptions. I plan to return to some of those in future weeks. Since it’s a oncer, a one-time event, I’ve decided this week to write a bit about Trump’s version of the inaugural address.
Donald Trump’s inaugural address did not carry out the genre in the usual way. I’m not the first to notice. But I’m a genre lover, so here’s a chance to do a little genre analysis. What’s expected of the genre usually? How have others done that in the genre in the past? How does this one compare to those past patterns?
So what’s the usual inaugural address like? Two of the greats in presidential rhetoric, Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, studied past inaugural addresses and explain the functions of an inaugural address (my thanks to Christian Lundberg and Joshua Gunn, on theconversation.com, for the list):
an inaugural address functions to:
Did Trump’s address fulfill those functions?
Lundberg and Gunn argue that his address did call for unity, but in an “us against them” way. Let’s unite to fight against the establishment. Even the “common values” that Trump rehearsed seemed mostly negative, with a litany of all the things wrong in America.
His speech did conform to the inaugural address functions, but shifted them to his own way. He used the speech
As for the fourth function: Did he demonstrate that he could act like a president? I know a lot of people who don’t think so, at least not what we usually think of as presidential. His address was indeed much shorter than the usual, the briefest since Jimmy Carter’s. And his tone of challenging the legislature is far from conventional. These are, after all, the people he will have to work with to pass legislation.
But that’s part of the point, isn’t it? Trump doesn’t want to be the usual president or act in the usual presidential way. That’s “them,” not “the people.”
BUT in some other ways he did act conventionally presidential by using traditional moves that presidents make in inaugural addresses. The presidents make the presidency through their use of the presidential genres, as Campbell and Jamieson show. Trump used the inaugural address to begin making his presidency into what he (and his writers and advisors) wants it to be.
How have others carried out the functions of the inaugural address? Is Trump's address unconventional in how he goes about it?
A Chines scholar, Fang Liu, published an analysis of the American inaugural address in 2012. The inaugural address, Fang Liu writes, is a ceremony in which “a leader assumes and expresses power.” Certainly, Trump’s address was an expression of power.
Fang Liu studied all the inaugural addresses, from Washington through Obama, to discover the typical rhetorical moves they make, how they accomplish those functions. Fang Liu identified 8 usual moves.
What do these moves look like in Trump’s inaugural address?
To see for yourself, here’s a link to the official video of his inauguration from whitehouse.gov
And here’s a link to a transcript of the inaugural address as delivered.
And the youtube video of the speech
Let’s see whether Trump uses the same moves Fang Liu describes and just how Trump is using the inaugural address to change the terms of the presidency.
Yep, Trump begins in the usual way, with listing of the chief justice and former presidents, then greeting “fellow American, and people of the world.”
2. Announcing their assumption of the office of President
Not in the usual way, which would have been something like an early sentence that refers to accepting this office solemnly. Perhaps when he says, “The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans”?
In a less conventional move, Trump seems to reject, in this speech, reference to his individual assumption of the office. Instead, he places the transfer of power on the people, not himself. At the point in the address where many past presidents assumed the office, Trump says, “Today’s ceremony has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or one party to another but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.” That populist approach shows up throughout the speech in his use of pronouns, as I'll say more about below. It’s not about me, it’s about you.
3. Expressing thanks and other sentiments
Trump did thank his predecessor, with “we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama for their gracious aid in this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.”
4. Making pledges
Trump makes many pledges, as have past presidents.
The biggie in his case perhaps is, “I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.” Notably, that is the only place in the entire address that Trump uses “I.”
Then many statements that might seem like pledges, like, “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.” In fact, word analyses show that “will” is the most frequent word in Trump’s inaugural address, as it was in Obama’s and many presidents before him.
And his final refrain takes the nature of a pledge:
“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, we will make America strong again.
We will make America wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together we will make America great again.”
So I’d say Trump’s inaugural address is full of pledges, broad as they might be, but they are pledges of what "we" will do, not what he will do.
5. Arousing patriotism
Trump arouses patriotism throughout his address, as that final refrain shows with the pride of Americans and making America great again.
The patriotic appeals, too, seem focused on defining America as an us, as a group that needs loyalty within and protection from outside forces. Famously, Trump vowed, “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”
In a direct appeal to patriotism, “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
And flag waving, “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.”
Today, in fact, Trump continued the tradition of naming the day of his inauguration. He named his inaugural day the "National Day of Patriotic Devotion."
6. Announcing political principles to guide the new administration
Many principles seem phrased as pledges, too, but the primary guiding principle Trump announces is “America First.” More common in past inaugural addresses have been basic principles of the American Constitution, freedom, and democracy, but “America First” is clearly presented as Trump’s guiding principle. He goes on, “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”
A second part of announcing political principles, according to Fang Liu, is pointing out the problems. I don’t think I need to rehearse the litany of problems that Trump’s inaugural address recites.
7. Appealing to the audience for action
Interestingly, Trump doesn’t seem to call on the audience to do anything. Instead, his appeal to the audience seems to be to just wait for all the things they are entitled to. Although he ends with "Together, we will" do this and that, he gives no role for the people to play. The closest thing to an action I can see him asking is a call for non-action, "Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done."
Fang Liu reports that, in all other inaugural addresses, "There is always a general appeal for aids or assistance or some specific appeal for sacrifice and dedication." But not in Trump's inaugural address, or his presidency. You don't need to do a thing. You're entitled. In fact, don't do a thing. Just leave it to me on your behalf. All you have to do is deny anyone who tells you I'm wrong.
8. Resorting to religious power
Fang Liu tells us that most presidents ask for divine blessings or “invoke God for guidance.” Trump’s references to religion, I would say, are less humble than that. Of course, he does end with the traditional “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.” Mostly, he seems to be using the Bible as confirmation of his perspective.
He says, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”” Toward the end, he refers to all people being the same because “they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”
And three sentences later, God is on our side, “We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.”
So Trump does seem to be following the moves of inaugural addresses of the past, but he’s making them his own.
The assumption of the office, pledges, patriotic appeals, guiding principles, appeals to the audience, and references to religion all create and confirm this new role for president—as advocate and protector for those who agree with him (or more fairly from just this speech, perhaps, those who will work within his pledges).
I find Trump’s use of pronouns especially revealing of his appeal to the people. In the inaugural address of 1,433 words, three of those words are “I,” one in the reference to "the oath I take today" and both of the others in his pledge, “I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.”
The “you”s in that pledge are much more common. Leaving out the “you” in conventional “Thank you” and “God bless you,” Trump uses a form of “you” 21 times, making his presidency all about giving power back to the people. He adds to that populist appeal to “you” an anti-establishment appeal against “them.” “They” are the ones who were celebrating in Washington while the people suffered in the heartland. His positioning of the groups and where he sides is clear through the contrast of "their" and "your": “Their victories have not been your victories, their triumphs have not been your triumphs.”
And of course “we” appears 50 times in Trump’s address. “We” is common in all inaugural addresses since the president is working to unite people under common American values, so the “we” usually refers to Americans and America. Perhaps that’s what Trump means by “we.” He does, to his credit, begin with reference to “We, the citizens of America” and he refers to America and Americans before his reference to “we.” But his “we” comes after he distinguishes “them” from “you” and then “us.” In the context of his campaign, it might be difficult to see Trump as wanting to be the president for everyone. The “we” who have “been ignored,” who want American strong again and want America first are clearly not all Americans.
Many analysts have compared this inaugural address to a campaign speech, but, even though the themes and even words are often the same, they are very different actions. This is an inaugural address, the American assumption of power of a new regime. It is the first act of making the presidency, and for Trump it is his first act of remaking the presidency. Everything is about you, the people, not I. In fact, the power is now yours, not mine. But you don't have to do a thing with that power, no action needed from you. I'll take care of everything in your name. That's how we will make America great again.
On Martin Luther King Day, it seems appropriate to celebrate rhetoric. King was one of the great rhetoricians, able to move people through his words as well as actions. Rhetoric matters, as I've discussed in a previous post. But rhetoric offers some particular challenges today, not all of them worth celebrating.
Today we deal with the rhetoric of social media as well as the rhetoric of great speeches. We deal with the rhetoric of truthiness and post-truth as well as the rhetoric of logic/logos. We deal with the rhetoric of bullying as well as the rhetoric of credibility/ethos. And we deal with the rhetoric of prejudices as well as the rhetoric of emotions/ pathos.
These challenges are widespread, not limited to one political party or to one point of view. Instead they seem to be everywhere and, I’m afraid, may be too difficult to surmount right now.
These current realities of many rhetorical situations distort, in my mind, how good persuasion should work. But then I’m an idealist and naïve, I’ve been told.
Taking up a friend’s challenge, I’ll try in this post to talk about a few of the current challenges for rhetoric. But these realities are far too complex for one blog post to begin to address. So let me just sketch a few rhetorical truths.
Or the latest hashtag. The # is potentially a new means of persuasion as it makes a statement or a joke about a person or position. But are you trying to persuade anyone if you use a hashtag that clearly marks your position? I imagine the people who use and those who search for posts with #PEEOTUS or #LockherUp have already made up their minds about the president-elect or former Secretary of State and are seeking others like them, not new input to change their minds.
So far we seem to be using social media more to confirm what we already think than as a new means of persuasion. Maybe because too many of us have replaced facts and evidence with truthiness.
There’s a reason Oxford Dictionaries chose post-truth as its word of the year
"Post-truth—adjective; relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."
Social media and traditional news outlets struggle today with fake news and fact checking. Statements contrary to fact, untruths, outright lies, all are asserted as evidence to support what people want to believe.
As far as I can figure out, it doesn’t matter to some people when the evidence is shown to be false because they still believe it’s true in spirit. “Okay so maybe John Lewis has been a lot more action than talk, contrary to that tweet, and maybe Russians did interfere with the election. But that doesn’t mean Lewis wasn't wrong to call Trump’s presidency illegitimate.” “Okay so maybe Trump is drawing huge, passionate crowds to his rallies, but that doesn't mean he could ever become president.” “Okay so maybe the Arctic ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, but that doesn’t mean the climate scientists aren’t all in cahoots.”
In a post-truth age persuasion comes from confirming existing beliefs, not from considering facts.
Along with logic, rhetoric uses ethos to persuade people–the believability of the speaker, the credentials or expertise behind the position, or even the charm or likability of the person trying to persuade us. We believe it is so because of who says it is so.
But have you ever agreed with someone just to get them to shut up? (Oops, I forgot that we don’t say “shut up” in our house, at least not when a grandchild is around.) Have you ever bitten your tongue for fear of what someone will say or do in response? We all have difficult family members or colleagues who make us walk on eggshells around them. But now the world seems full of people who want to shout us into submission or discredit us through lies and insults. Now we also have Internet trolls. If we’re not careful, anything we say or write can provoke personal attacks or even threats.
We are not actually persuaded. We’re frightened.
Charities are notorious for using emotions to get people to donate money. The picture of the starving child wearing rags; the puppy with the big eyes looking up at us; the story of the homeless family living in their car. “Won’t you help?” These emotional appeals usually go along with logical evidence about how many people are one medical emergency away from homelessness; how many animals are euthanized every year; or how few dollars it takes to feed a child in some underdeveloped country. If you want to persuade people to do something about it, it helps to appeal to people’s generosity, kindness, or compassion. Or even their guilt.
Or you can appeal to people’s fears. Mexicans will rape your daughters. Syrian immigrants will commit acts of terrorism. My opponent will ruin this country, one way or another, by destroying everything you hold dear. Once again social media exaggerates this means of persuasion. Fears spread like viruses. Fake news stories confirm the worst prejudices. The appeal to our lowest emotions isn’t new with the Internet. Presidential candidates used Willie Hortons to frighten us and welfare queens to enrage us in print and on television long before this past election year. Some people have always used rhetoric dishonestly for bad purposes.
It just seems that what was once a shocking rhetorical move has become the norm.
I’m overstating, of course. It’s never that simple. But it’s definitely challenging today to figure out how to use rhetoric effectively and ethically. It’s challenging today to make a case for what you believe in a way that might persuade people who can be persuaded without risking being bullied into silence.
Standing up for your beliefs has always been risky, though. The details have changed, but people not so much. Think about today. Martin Luther King Day. A day to celebrate one of the great rhetoricians, a preacher and civil rights activist who was brilliant at using logic, emotions, and his character to persuade many people, in public and in private, to do the right thing.
An effective rhetorician who was brutally silenced.
Maybe the difference today is how widespread and accepted are the less drastic means of silencing. Nasty hashtags and memes are everywhere, on both sides of just about any issue. The rhetoric that persuades through logic, goodness, and positive emotions has to struggle to be heard in the midst of post-truth bullying and fearful prejudices.
What has happened to our promised land?
According to Oxford Dictionaries, we are in an era of post-truth.
Are we also in an era of post-rhetoric?
Dumpster fire is Word of the Year for the American Dialect Society. Really? Dumpster fire?
Maybe I’m just out of the loop. I was surprised by “surreal” being the word of the year for Merriam Webster too. I usually love the word of the year chosen by the members of the American Dialect Society (more below). But somehow I just can’t get “dumpster fire.” Lots of other great words made the list in different categories. The complete list is always fun to browse, and we’ll check it out below.
The American Dialect Society (ADS for short) is an organization for people interested in the English language, Including linguists and teachers but also dictionary makers, historians, writers, and editors--anybody who loves American English, especially American dialects. The organization has been around since 1889, and its members have been choosing words of the year since 1990. I’ve been a member since before my first presentation to its members in 1986. Somehow I let my membership lapse in recent years, but I’ve already corrected that oversight.
In a lively debate at its conference every year (now that would make a great live stream), the members argue for their favorite words. The nominees for word of the year are the winners in each of the other categories.
The press release lists all the nominees in each category, vote tallies, and winners from this year’s debates.
Here is this year’s set of nominees for Word of the Year (vote tallies come after each word; where there's a slash there was a run-off vote)
WORD OF THE YEAR
You see that “post-truth” was one nominee, and it was the word of the year chosen by Oxford Dictionaries. Given those choices, I think I might have voted for “woke,” which I think is an especially creative and meaningful word that had extra significance this past year.
I’m okay with losing a vote, But I feel left out that I don't understand “dumpster fire” better. Trying to get it, I found a helpful post about the phrase by Mark Liberman on the always fascinating Language Log blog from six months ago. He explains that the phrase has been used metaphorically in sports writing for years. There it means a disastrous performance. Now it has spread to commentary on politics and culture and apparently on our spectacle and low points of the past election year in the US.
Besides the fact that I hadn’t heard the expression much myself, I think my confusion about it is that a dumpster fire is not especially disastrous or chaotic but instead matters very little. You’re just burning garbage, after all, and in a nice metal box that will safely contain the fire (see image above, for example). So where’s the disaster or chaos in that?
But I recognize that I’m being too literal in the face of this metaphorical use.
Liberman explains it well, I think
“The idea seems to be that you start with a large steel box full of garbage, and then you set it on fire, and the result is a cheap spectacle that combines the properties of arson and garbage.”
As a word to describe this past year, in the US at least, I can see a lot of the flame being about garbage and a lot of spectacle with little real effect. So dumpster fire it is. Words and their meanings spread across groups and over time, so I imagine a year from now I'll feel foolish that I didn't get the common expression "dumpster fire."
Still, I had an easier time understanding ADS words of the year in the past. Here are some of my favorites. Notice how they reflect what was going on in the US that year:
2015 “they” singular gender-neutral pronoun; also most useful word that year
2009 tweet (there is a time lag between a word becoming popular and making it into the ADS competition)
2008 bailout (Gee, I wonder what was going on in these years?)
2002 weapons of mass destruction or WMD
2001 9-11, 9/11, or September 11
1992 Not! (yes, that annoying addition to any positive statement, as in “This year’s WOTY is a great choice—Not!”)
You get the picture. The list is a lot of fun to browse, if you’re curious or a word nerd, like me.
When you’re browsing, check out some of the fun categories, like most creative word, most useful, most unnecessary, most outrageous, and most euphemistic. New categories have been created for hashtags and emojis. We communicate through these meaningful symbols, after all, so we might as well recognize them as words.
From this year’s lists, I especially like
POLITICAL WORD OF THE YEAR
Maybe “nasty woman” will be only a phrase of the moment, but I’ve sure seen it a lot on T-shirts, #’s and coffee cups. And it’s fun.
Here’s a winner I can agree with. “laissez-fairydust” hah! Very clever. I tried to find the first use of the term or some reference to who created it, but all I was able to find at first was its being repeated in identical critical “news” stories on Koch College from late 2016. They all quoted the same sentence, obviously from a common source:
“Yes, this “grassroots” outfit has been set up by the gabillionaire Koch boys to train cadres of right-wing corporatists to spread their ideological laissez-fairydust across the land.”
But then I hit a gold mine! I found a song entitled “Laissez Fairy Dust” recorded by Timothy Bearly on soundcloud three years ago! This song explains it all, pulling no punches. The song’s refrain includes the lines
And so the rich say gummint get off our backs
They’re all lies, lies, lies, It’s all lies, lies, lies behind their rise
Gotta try, try, try to change the world and reach for the sky
This is the same artist who recorded songs entitled, “Some of my best friends are capitalists,” “Privatize Everything,” and my personal favorite, “ Don’t let the smell of their cologne mask the smell of their bullshit.” He's worth a listen.
But back to words!
“Laissez-fairy-dust” would not make it into the next category, but two terms I’ve blogged about show up, alt-right and locker-room banter.
EUPHEMISM OF THE YEAR
I must not be totally out of the loop if I’ve commented on two of the four nominees. I must also find euphemisms pretty interesting (I do).
And the last category that I’ll share shows the fun that ADS members can have with the annual event
WTF WORD OF THE YEAR
So I may not be a big fan of this year’s Word of the Year winner. But I am a big fan of the American Dialect Society and of their annual competition.
For those of you who like to read about American English and don’t mind some scholarly talk, the ADS also publishes a great journal entitled American Speech. It’s a rich source for language nerds like me. The most recent issue has an article entitled “Why Does Canadian English Use try to but British English Use try and? Let's Try and/to Figure It Out.”
Is that fun or what? If it makes you want to read the article, check out the journal.
Feel free to comment with your own votes for word of the year. Maybe I’m way off and full of hooey about “dumpster fire.” Feel free to let me know