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Words and Phrases You Should Never Use

  • “X does not a Y make” or “X a Y does not make”

    Why not? Because you sound like a pretentious asshole. Also because you probably sound stupid, because it’s very hard to get the meter of the sentence right. “Illiteracy does not make a good electorate” sounds fine, “Illiteracy does not a good electorate make” is clunky and clumsy.

    Exception: You’re Richard Lovelace.

  • “Methinks”

    Why not? Because you sound like a pretentious asshole. Alternately, because maybe you think it’s funny to talk like a pirate for no good reason, but it’s actually not.

    Exception: You’re really a pirate.

  • “Pot, meet kettle” and other glib rephrasings of cliches

    Why not? Because you sound like you’re try way too hard to be clever, but everybody can tell you’re not really clever.

    Exception: The Black Adder theme song.


  1. Scott says:

    Is “methinks” appropriate to use on “Talk like a Pirate Day”?

    — 16 September 2004 at 4:34 pm (Permalink)

  2. Steven says:

    “Methinks” is acceptable for “Talk like a Pirate Day,” if used in moderation.

    — 16 September 2004 at 4:41 pm (Permalink)

  3. Polite Dissent » Talk Like A Pirate Day! says:

    […] or Methinks the Truth be Out There: Pirate and Privateer Legends! Avast! That bilge rat Steven don’t like folks to be talking like a pirate! Tho’ he do be […]

    — 19 September 2004 at 2:22 pm (Permalink)