Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
Nouns and Verbs

Cutting the Clutter and Confusion.

by Everett Wilson
January 6, 2007

Bookmark and Share
Nouns  and Verbs
I dived into this column full tilt with a discussion of the virgin birth, including a preemptive apology to those readers who couldn't perceive the virgin birth as a simple thing. Today I am offering you no theology, psychology, cultural history, or even philosophy--unless you insist that semantics is my subject.
 Please don't insist. I have avoided speaking or writing of "semantics" for fifty years. It was a buzzword when I was young; people accused one another of "talking semantics," by which they meant quibbling, or dodging issues by arguing definitions. The accusers were themselves dodging the issues, of course, because there can be no argument except on the basis of agreed-upon definition.
 I doubt that I ever heard "semantics" used correctly in those days. I did not understand it as it was used in my circles, and it dropped out of favor long ago. It is, I believe, a specialized academic term having something to do with meaning. But I am a generalist, so "meaning" is as much of a word as I need.
 I want to spend a few of your minutes, and mine, on the discussion of the simplest things in verbal communication, nouns and verbs.
Without nouns there is nothing to talk about; without verbs, the nouns aren't doing or being anything. The basic sentence is a noun and a verb. The more exact the noun and the more apt the verb, the clearer the sentence.
Granted, a succession of two-word sentences would be boring as well as basic; but we're dealing with meaning here, not entertainment and aesthetics. Toddlers get along with two-sentences pretty well.
But we are not toddlers; for example, I am not limiting myself to nouns and verbs in this column. The other words I use, however, are intended to support, modify, or clarify the nouns, verbs, and how they connect in a complete thought. To use words otherwise means clutter and confusion.
We learned early in our education that a noun designates a person, place, or thing. Answers.com enlarges the definition: "The part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action and can function as the subject or object of a verb, the object of a preposition, or an appositive."
In the title of this column I include quality and action as subsumed under things. I intend always to write about something, andfor you to know what it is.
 Doesn't everybody write about something? I can't always tell. The subject, if it is there, is buried under too many words. Note carefully: too many words. A work may be very long and still have just the right number of words. In Amadeus, Mozart did not accept the emperor's criticism, "too many notes," because Mozart knew he had used exactly the right number.
 I cannot say everything about anything. My main goal is to cut the clutter and confusion that complicate simple things, and leave them exposed for what they are, whether good or bad.
 

Comments (1)


Post a Comment

Bob McNaughton from Middletown, CT writes:
January 20, 2007
When you and I finished seminary, Everett, and began to preach weekly (and too often weakly) on Sunday mornings as well as evenings and other times, it was simply assumed that the Sunday morning sermon would be 30 minutes long. Today, 20 minutes is usually considered too long, at least in our white, middle-class congregations. One would think that by reducing the time, we would be able to hear better use of verbs and nouns, complete sentences that go somewhere clearly. Alas, there is as much confusion and hot air in sermons today, as when they were longer. Maybe it's at least partly because preaching is a much more sophisticated enterprise than it seems; maybe it's partly because the answer to the age-old question, "How long does it take to prepare a sermon?" is still "One more week than I have." Maybe because dealing with the Mystery, speaking the God words, is such an awe-some and presumptious thing to do.

Which is also why we keep at it.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


PO BOOKS BY EVERETT WILSON
Real Things
A novel.
Published January 2, 2008
Temporarily Unavailable

Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

More Information
RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson
EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Everett Wilson
Necessary Things, A Companion and Sequel to Real Things
Available from Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, and Me!
by Everett Wilson, 2/16/15
Until Barrett is Free, Neither Are We
Freedom of the Press is not a whim of the state
by Everett Wilson, 2/26/14
Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons
by Everett Wilson, 11/15/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/2/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/1/13
Excerpt from my new novel, Scoundrels and Fools
Chapter 5: Ellis Johnson
by Everett Wilson, 7/12/13
The Rev. Marjorie Drickey's Last Message to a Dying World
And all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.
by Everett Wilson, 2/14/13
» Complete List (151)


RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson

Recently Published
View Article Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17
A Mighty Fortress was His God
Remembering the legacy of Martin Luther 500 years later
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/27/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top