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261

Twenty-Four Word Notes

3
terms
6
notes

Foster Wallace, D. (None). Twenty-Four Word Notes. In Foster Wallace, D. Both Flesh and Not: Essays. , pp. 261-284

261

[...] Since it does nothing that good old use doesn't do, its extra letters and syllables don't make a writer seem smarter; rather, using utilize makes you seem either like a pompous twit or like someone so insecure that she'll use pointlessly big words in an attempt to look sophisticated. The same is true for the noun utilization, for vehicle as used for car, for residence as used for house, for presently, at present, at this time, and at the present time as used for now, and so on. What's worth remembering about puff-words is something that good writing teachers spend a lot of time drumming into undergrads: "formal writing" does not mean gratutiously fancy writing; it means clear, clear, maximally considerate writing.

—p.261 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] Since it does nothing that good old use doesn't do, its extra letters and syllables don't make a writer seem smarter; rather, using utilize makes you seem either like a pompous twit or like someone so insecure that she'll use pointlessly big words in an attempt to look sophisticated. The same is true for the noun utilization, for vehicle as used for car, for residence as used for house, for presently, at present, at this time, and at the present time as used for now, and so on. What's worth remembering about puff-words is something that good writing teachers spend a lot of time drumming into undergrads: "formal writing" does not mean gratutiously fancy writing; it means clear, clear, maximally considerate writing.

—p.261 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
262

[...] A subordinating conjunction signals the reader that the clause it's part of is dependent--common sub. conjunctions include before, after, while, unless, if, as, and because. The relevant rule is easy and well worth remembering: Use a comma after the subordinating conjunction's clause only if that clause comes before the independent clause that completes the thought; if the sub. conj.'s clause comes after the independent clause, there's no comma. Example: "If I were you, I'd put down the hatchet" vs. "I'd put down that hatchet if I were you."

—p.262 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] A subordinating conjunction signals the reader that the clause it's part of is dependent--common sub. conjunctions include before, after, while, unless, if, as, and because. The relevant rule is easy and well worth remembering: Use a comma after the subordinating conjunction's clause only if that clause comes before the independent clause that completes the thought; if the sub. conj.'s clause comes after the independent clause, there's no comma. Example: "If I were you, I'd put down the hatchet" vs. "I'd put down that hatchet if I were you."

—p.262 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
262

[...] if is used to express a conditional, whether to introduce alternative possibilities. [...] If you can coherently insert an "[or not]" after either the conjunction or the clause it introduces, you need whether. Examples: "He didn't know whether [or not] it would rain"; "She asked me straight out whether I was a fetishist [or not]"; "We told him to call if [or not? no] he needed a ride [or not? no]." [...]

—p.262 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] if is used to express a conditional, whether to introduce alternative possibilities. [...] If you can coherently insert an "[or not]" after either the conjunction or the clause it introduces, you need whether. Examples: "He didn't know whether [or not] it would rain"; "She asked me straight out whether I was a fetishist [or not]"; "We told him to call if [or not? no] he needed a ride [or not? no]." [...]

—p.262 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
264

[...] If there needs to be a comma before the rel. pron., you need which; otherwise, you need that. Examples: "We have a massive SUV that we purchased on credit last month"; "The massive SUV, which we purchased on credit last month, seats us ten feet above any other driver on the road." [...]

—p.264 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] If there needs to be a comma before the rel. pron., you need which; otherwise, you need that. Examples: "We have a massive SUV that we purchased on credit last month"; "The massive SUV, which we purchased on credit last month, seats us ten feet above any other driver on the road." [...]

—p.264 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
265

[...] Who and whom are the relative pronouns for people; that and which are the rel. pronouns for everything else. [...]

—p.265 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] Who and whom are the relative pronouns for people; that and which are the rel. pronouns for everything else. [...]

—p.265 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

(adjective) no longer fertile / (adjective) having lost character, vitality, or strength / (adjective) marked by weakness or decadence / (adjective) soft or delicate from or as if from a pampered existence / (adjective) effeminate

266

a great many educated people accept effete now also as a pejorative synonym for elite or elitist, one with an added suggestion of effeminacy, over-refinement, pretension, and/or decadence

he notes the traditional meaning as "depleted of vitality, washed out, exhausted"

—p.266 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

a great many educated people accept effete now also as a pejorative synonym for elite or elitist, one with an added suggestion of effeminacy, over-refinement, pretension, and/or decadence

he notes the traditional meaning as "depleted of vitality, washed out, exhausted"

—p.266 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

(adjective) very hot; burning / (adjective) marked by often extreme fervor

274

Fervid is the next level up; it connotes even more passion/devotion/eagerness than fervent. At the top is perfervid, which means extravagantly, rabidly, uncontrollably zealous or impassioned.

—p.274 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

Fervid is the next level up; it connotes even more passion/devotion/eagerness than fervent. At the top is perfervid, which means extravagantly, rabidly, uncontrollably zealous or impassioned.

—p.274 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

(adjective) being in a state of distension; swollen, tumid (opposite of flaccid) / (adjective) exhibiting turgor / (adjective) excessively embellished in style or language; bombastic, pompous

274

it looms large in turgid crap like "Law-enforcement personnel apprehended the individual as he was attempting to exit the premises"

on "individual" being used as a synonym for "person"

—p.274 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

it looms large in turgid crap like "Law-enforcement personnel apprehended the individual as he was attempting to exit the premises"

on "individual" being used as a synonym for "person"

—p.274 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago
276

[...] Except for the ironic-idiom case, the only time it's correct to use all of is when the adj. phrase is folowed by a pronoun--"All of them got cards"; "I wanted Edgar to have all of me"--unless, however, the relevant pronoun is possessive, in which case you must again omit the of, as in "All my friends despise Edgar." [...] With all plus a noun, it turns out that the medial of is required if that noun is possessive, as in "All of Edgar's problems stem from his childhood," "All of Dave's bombast came back to haunt him that day." I doubt I will ever forge this.

the ironic-idiom case being "Sex with Edgar lasted all of a minute"

incidentally, this has inspired the idea of a putative grammatical lesson (or something of the sort) that really tells a story through the examples that are given (which DFW explores briefly in this paragraph)

—p.276 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] Except for the ironic-idiom case, the only time it's correct to use all of is when the adj. phrase is folowed by a pronoun--"All of them got cards"; "I wanted Edgar to have all of me"--unless, however, the relevant pronoun is possessive, in which case you must again omit the of, as in "All my friends despise Edgar." [...] With all plus a noun, it turns out that the medial of is required if that noun is possessive, as in "All of Edgar's problems stem from his childhood," "All of Dave's bombast came back to haunt him that day." I doubt I will ever forge this.

the ironic-idiom case being "Sex with Edgar lasted all of a minute"

incidentally, this has inspired the idea of a putative grammatical lesson (or something of the sort) that really tells a story through the examples that are given (which DFW explores briefly in this paragraph)

—p.276 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago