This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saturday Rave: Adlai Stevenson.

The Word Den's rave choices are usually examples of what I think of as literary accuracy. 

But of course most language isn't literary. This example from an American politician isn't literary at all, and yet it says what it wants to say clearly and very briefly and then it shuts up to allow the idea to penetrate our heads without distractions.

'A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.'

That was Adlai Stevenson in Detroit in 1952.

It occurs to me that this short sentence also illustrates the other test of great language - that it continues to illuminate the world long after the echoes of the voice which spoke it have died away.

File:Adlai Stevenson 1952.jpg

Word To Use Today: free. This word comes from the Old English frēo, and long before that from the Sanskrit priya, which means  dear.

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