Saturday, October 22, 2011

Overheard

While out and about:

“’Cause they’re opinion-wise. Thank God! ”

What are they? Essays, I suspect (whose arguments in fact require support).

Opinion-wise reminds me of The Apartment (dir. Billy Wilder, 1960), which has -wise running through it: “Premium-wise and billing-wise, we are eighteen percent ahead of last year, October-wise.” In 1960, -wise was very much in the air. From the 1959 edition of William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style:

-wise. Not to be used indiscriminately as a pseudosuffix: taxwise, pricewise, marriagewise, prosewise, saltwater taffywise. Chiefly useful when it means in the manner of : clockwise. There is not a noun in the language to which
-wise cannot be added if the spirit moves one to add it. The sober writer will abstain from the use of this wild syllable.
As you might suspect from the taffy and from the dry humor of that final sentence, the entry is White’s work.

Related reading
All “overheard” posts (via Pinboard)

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