May I Quote You on That? by Stephen Spector (Oxford University Press) is a new grammar and usage guide for the layperson, that is, anyone who needs to write well without necessarily being a professional communicator. For the professional writer or editor with at least some experience and training, “grammar for the masses” books are often of limited use.
Assent and ascent are two soundalike words that are just uncommon enough that we might stumble over the spellings. The sc combination in the one that involves climbing mimics the first two letters of scale, which as a verb means to climb something. The words ascent and scale are ultimately related through the Latin scandere, to climb.
To give your assent means you are agreeable. Assent is an indication that you are going along with the plan, and not being a stubborn ass.
This week's word game won't have you seeing double, but you might be hearing double. Each of the clues below is a brief definition of a phrase consisting of two homophones. For example, "The second of two ascension devices" would be "the latter ladder."
How many homophone pairs can you puzzle out? I'll post the answers next week.
Here is an office memo I have never seen, but would like to. I give you full permission to use it in your workplace:
Despite their popularity in the office this summer, especially among our new millennial associates and interns, please be advised that the wearing of thongs is not approved under the corporate dress code. Anyone wearing thongs will be asked to change into more suitable attire.
In the era of Facebook and Twitter we’re reposting all the time, so it’s no surprise a fellow editor would see someone refer to a clever repost instead of a clever riposte.
The word repost is a natural formation that goes back hundreds of years: To repost is simply to post again. Post, as in mail, referred originally to travel by relay of horses. But you could probably ask someone in the 17th century to repost a sign that fell down and you’d be understood.