Lettuce not speak eel of the dead…

In a recent blog, I lamented about the lack of copy editors to guard against affronts to the English language in our newspapers these days.

Our good friend Cheryl found an entertaining obituary in the local newspaper last week confirming that view. Let me make it clear, the notice of someone’s death was not entertaining. It was just the way the obituary was written that was entertaining. I’m not sure it was the fault of the newspaper for not proofing the obituary or the way it was written by a family member. In either case, read on.

A mostly obscure Greek philosopher named Chilon of Sparta coined the phrase “do not speak ill of the dead.”

So I won’t in this case. However, it is certainly worth mentioning that the person who wrote or proofed this eulogy for a wife/mother/friend did not have a very commanding grasp of the English language.

In the obituary, it noted that the departed had a “rye” sense of humor and that she and her spouse had renewed their wedding “vowels” after 10 years. I suspect they meant “wry” and “vows.”

But who knows, based on this butchery of a solemn eulogy? Maybe the woman who died appreciated fine Irish whiskey while telling a joke and perhaps was a linguistics teacher. 

So lettuce not speak eel of the dead — only those who write poorly.

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