Garblog's Pages

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In praise of ... the oxymoron | Gary Nunn, Mind your language,| guardian.co.uk

It's an open secret that everyone, from compassionate conservatives to champagne socialists, loves an oxymoron.

Like British blogger Nunn, I love an effective or amusing oxymoron, a word or term -- a figure of speech -- that combines contradictory or incongruous terms.

Nunn begins with a good one -- "Now then" -- and then comments on a bunch of others. I'll list some of them here; Nunn places them and others in categories:
  • compassionate conservative
  • "I'm definitely unsure what I want ...."
  • "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap." 
  • "I like restraint - if it doesn't go too far." 
  • "Instant gratification takes too long."
  • happily married 
  • working from home
  • deafening silence 
  • pretty ugly
  • open secret 
  • terribly nice 
  • bittersweet
  • "Dress – smart casual." 
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This article is featured in my daily online paper for June 30, The Write Style: Editorial Choices -- available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription. 

You also can check out Garbl's Word Linksan annotated directory of websites that can help you discover, understand and use (or avoid) Latin and Greek derivations, misused words, unusual words, word origins, new words and slang. You'll also find separate sections there on spelling and vocabulary.

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