What's in a Word?

Pondering word play and power in The Daily Sentinel

Page 108 of 127


Not quite the last of Potter

By Debra Dobbins
Friday, November 19, 2010

Almost every time I read a mention of Harry Potter, I flash back to a hot day in July 10 years ago. My son and I made a detour en route to the Seattle airport on July 8, 2000. That was the day Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, and he wanted to read it on the plane ride back to Colorado.

My cousin kindly stopped at a bookstore to grant him his wish. In the store I decided that one copy simply wouldn’t be enough. I also wanted to dive back into Harry’s magical world, so I bought two. Reading the book side-by-side with my son in the friendly, pre-911 skies is one of my favorite memories.

Today I was surprised to see the teaser “Penultimate Potter” at the top of The Daily Sentinel. Penultimate means next to the last, and I was sure that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and last novel in J.K. Rowling’s series.

Glancing at the words below this tease, I realized that the use of penultimate actually did make sense. Producers of the movie version of the final Potter book split it into two parts; the first one is premiering now and the final part will take over the big screen next July.

So, there’s no need to cry into our butterbeer just yet. We Potterites get to anticipate still more cinematic magic.


 

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Productive passers

By Debra Dobbins
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prolific means fruitful or producing a great deal of something. It is often used to describe writers who turn out many books. In this case, it means that Denver’s Kyle Orton and the San Diego Chargers’ Philip Rivers are likely to provide plenty of high-flying action when their teams meet next Monday.

Check out today’s print or e-edition for the rest of the story.

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Sailing into the stars of the universe

By Debra Dobbins
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reading the headline above reminded me that we English speakers are not the only ones who create words out of Latin/Greek word parts.

Case in point: We took the Latin word part astro for stars and naut for sailor to create astronaut. Russians took the Latin word cosmos, meaning universe, and added it to naut to create cosmonaut. Despite the slight difference in their names, both astronauts and cosmonauts must be highly educated and undergo rigorous training before they earn the right to explore the wonders of our universe.

The full obituary on Allan Sandage, an astronomer who worked with Edwin Hubble, appears below. An interesting word, limning, is in the final sentence. Webster’s says that it can mean to paint or draw or to describe or portray in words.

Below the article are answers to yesterday’s question on action verbs and direct objects.

SUBJECT-ACTION VERB-DIRECT OBJECT
Below are answers to yesterday’s questions. Words in bold indicate subject-action verb-direct object. The last headline contains a compound subject (scans and pat-downs.) It is written in an abbreviated style, because space did not permit using the helping verb “are” in it.

Meis defies his critics
Official rips Sentinel for coverage of his citation
Horse owner denies deal to cut size of her herd
Ritter defends federal health care to business leaders
Airport body scans, pat-downs (are) irritating the traveling public
 

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Where’s the action (verb)?

By Debra Dobbins
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today’s front page was replete (see entry of Nov. 8) with action verbs and direct objects in various headlines.

The headline above could also work as a complete sentence. Fruita is the subject, rejects is the action verb and ban is the direct object. OK, OK, since you are anxious to know, smoking is used as an adjective and the prepositional phrase “in city parks” contains a preposition, adjective and noun.

See if you can spot examples of the structure of “subject-action verb-direct object” in the other headlines on the front page. Check tomorrow’s blog for the answers.


 

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A building or a city?

By Debra Dobbins
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A capitol is a building, and a capital is a “city where the seat of government is located,” according to the Associated Press Stylebook. Remembering these sentences may help you keep the two spellings straight:

Montgomery is the capital of Alabama. The city’s first capitol was built in 1847.

Our state capital is, of course, Denver. The Colorado Capitol, not far from the 16th Street Mall, is a beautiful building that is always worth a visit.

The gold-plated dome of the Colorado Capitol symbolizes our state’s “Gold Rush” days.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

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Page 108 of 127




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