This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 14 June 2012

Better to be thought a fool: a rant.

It's better to keep quiet and be thought a fool

goes the old saying

than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

These are wise wise words. And uncomfortable ones, too, for someone writing her 514th post for this blog.

Oh dear.

Still, not long ago we were on a journey along the motorway. It was raining, and had been raining hard for several days (Britain is in the grip of its wettest drought ever*). It was also a Bank Holiday.

All these factors - motorway, rain, and Bank Holiday -  increase the chance of traffic problems, and so when we saw that there were lights on one of the message boards that hang over the road we were naturally rather anxious.

And what did the message say? Did it tell us that there was an accident ahead? A fifty-six-mile tail-back from the Hammersmith Flyover? The road turned into a roaring torrent, amphibious vehicles only south of Watford Gap?

No. What it said was:

FOR OLYMPIC EVENTS
PLAN YOUR JOURNEY
ARRIVE ON TIME

Now, apart from the fact that the Olympic Games are months away, could the person who wrote that message really imagine that  anyone who'd gone to the great trouble of getting a ticket (and, believe me, it's not easy) was that big a fool? That he was going to set out without a clue where he was going with the intention of arriving half an hour after it was all finished?

What on earth made the poster of that message imagine that anyone could be as silly as all that? 

And then as we drove on, baffled, another proverb came to mind:

it takes one to know one.

And that explained everything.

Word To Use Today: journey. This word comes from the Old French word journee, which means a day's travelling, from the Latin diurnum, a day's portion.


*We have hosepipe bans here in England after two dry years. It hasn't mattered because ever since the ban came into force it has been pouring.

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