"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
While or Whilst
It will not surprise Heather to know that a day or so before she made a comment about the word 'whilst' GB and I had been talking about it - and about the difference between 'while' and 'whilst'. In fact I had made a note - "While I think on, I shall do a note to myself that whilst I am at GB's I must check when it is appropriate to use while and when whilst is more suitable."
There are some circumstances in which GB and I find it natural to use 'while' and some where 'whilst' seems the appropriate word. But could we explain to ourselves what those circumstances were? No! So we turned to Eric Partridge's 'Usage and Abusage'. That didn't help.
It informed us that the 'st' forms of words like 'whilst' and 'amongst' are becoming outdated - partly because they are less easy to pronounce and partly because they are less euphonious (pleasant-sounding or agreeable to the ear). I don't agree with either statement.
I read a lengthy number of contributions about the subject on a website and whilst they were interesting they didn't really inform the debate. It seems that in North America the natural form is 'while' and the comment was also made that in the UK 'whilst' is only used by 'people of a certain age'. Thanks - I really needed to hear that on a day when my bones were creaking!
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! I am a 6' year old man who lives near Liverpool in the UK. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. To learn more about me please view my profile and continue to check out my posts. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. Thank you so much!
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"...
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a specal favourite.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)