The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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58                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
To which the man replied: "You should live so long." Completely baffled, the attorney shouted: "Yes or No!"
Then: "When did you last see------?"
"The last time I seen the louse, he was sneaking out
------," etc.
My friend withdrew from the case.
The buyer of a house wants an uncolored description, and he wants it as cold as a blueprint.
I am remembering now the time I thought I wanted a house in the country. A real-estate agent, a woman, took on the task of finding what I wanted. She'd call me long distance and start something like this:
I've got just the house for you.
Fine I'd say. Tell me about it.
It's just darling! It's a small house
How many rooms? I'd interject.
Fiveor sixI think.
O.K. I'd say, disconsolately, Tell me more.
The living room is tremendous.
What dimensions? I'd ask.
Well (offended) I didn't measure itbut it's enormous.
This continued as long as I had the patience to stand it. One day, I said:
Look. You're busy and so am I. Don't waste your time and money calling me unless you have some information. The location. The size of the lot. What the house is made of. The number of roomsand measure them. Etc.
But can't I use any salesmanship? she asked.
No I said, flatly. No salesmanship. Just information.
There are times when emotive language is entirely out of order. These are the times that we must make use of