Saturday, December 07, 2013

Safety, saying no and keeping it cool

Safely grazing.

Oh the satisfaction of saying "No"!  At the hospital pharmacy I hand over the prescription which the GP gave me this morning. I am passing and it saves me a visit to the High Street. "That's a green one," says a woman with a face carved from concrete. "We don't do green ones here. You'll have to take it to your usual chemist. "  No regrets, no sympathy. One chore fewer for the server.

People with chilly natures, their temperaments matched, often make contented couples.  Speaking of one such couple someone says today: "When you find the two of them together, it is as though the air-conditioning has just  been switched on."


Roderick Robinson said...

Oh, it is a sheep. A sheep shorn and therefore a sheep displaced in time. "Sheep may safely graze" comes to mind and I realise I do not know the grammatical definition of the role "may" plays in that phrase. It turns out it is a modal verb and I'm inclined to look no further. Speaking as a grammatical ignoramus I find "modal" powerfully discouraging; I suspect there are others equally in awe of the word (though not you) and I may achieve brief ascendancy by using it in the extended Tesco queue that we otherwise refer to as existence.

But I do read further. The explicator says modal verbs are tricky. This disappoints me. Tricky is a tissue-paper word, I'd much prefer omniverous simply because it has more syllables. Omniverous isn't at all applicable but it rolls, don't you think?

The explicator adopts a folksy tone. Modality (Aha, it has become an even better abstraction) is evolving and he urges us not to forget that modal verbs "all started life as fully paid up lexical verbs." I stop here to reflect on "fully paid up". There are other options and yet I fancy I hear an academic striving to prove he's not the stuffy pedagogue many believe him to be. Wants to escape the pejorative overtones of another menacing word: grammarian.

I stop for good now. There are people whose blogs grind to a halt because they maintain they have nothing left to say. Leaving me here considering the lilies of the field and their literary implications. I have toiled, perhaps I've even spun. There's no great interest in what I've come up with but I've met the primary obligation of anyone who has aspirations to write: I have filled in space.

Unknown said...

I have always enjoyed grammar even if I haven't always understood it. The same goes for your admirably discursive comment. Space nicely filled and thank you.