Vacilando and the details – An ode to San Francisco

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Simon found the memory card from my broken camera. These were taken whilst wandering the streets of my beloved city.


2 thoughts on “Vacilando and the details – An ode to San Francisco

  1. Howdy. I’d like to flag an issue which frequently crops up on this page. Re: word misusage, specifically archiasms. Normally I’m not even bothered, given the unstoppable tide of woeful grammar floating about the interwebs. (Cue picture of me as little-Dutch-boy-with-his-hand-in-the-dam.) But then again, look at Holland now, all dry and successful with it’s “Ooh, I’ve got Europe’s largest port”, “Ooh I’ve got two names and one of them’s a plural”, “Ooh land reclamation is my bitch”. Clogs. That miserable statue is the very least Holland owes Hans Brinker.

    While (see what I did there 😀 ) it’s clear you think the word “whilst” elevates the standard of your writing, adding an element of literary weight and ‘mystique’ to your blog, sadness4u, that’s not how writing works. Using an uncommon word can sometimes be great – in cases where the word genuinely enhances the writing. Not so much where the word only drags what you’re trying to saying down in weightiness and faux-formality. Quality’s not sharpened by reference to obselete terminology.

    Fowler’s Modern English Usage disapproves of several uses of “while”. Its usage as “elegant variation” is discouraged, as it is masquerading as a “formal word.

    Some publications on both sides of the Atlantic disapprove of whilst in their style guides (along with “amidst” and “amongst”), for example:
    Times Online Style Guide: “while (not whilst)”
    Guardian Style Guide: “while not whilst”
    Hansard: the Canadian Parliament record: “while not whilst”
    The general consensus among scholars of English is that whilst is an unnecessary and archaic word whose primary usage is by Britons who prefer what they perceive as a more ‘noble’ word. Its etymology derives from the early English whiles, and simply put, while is the word that has replaced whilst in modern English, just as thee and thou were replaced by you.

    In The King’s English (1906) H G and F W Fowler wrote: “It [whilst] is a conscious archaism that offends, above all the conscious archaisms of the illiterate.’ Archaisms are, according to them, ‘deliberate ornaments’ used by the amateur writer. An ‘educated’ writer chooses archaisms that are ‘less hackneyed’ than the amateur, less frequently than the amateur and to a strict allowance. The amateur, on the other hand, ‘indulges us with his whole repertoire’.”

    “In modern British English, ‘whilst’ is supposedly a more formal variant of ‘while’. It is also, in my experience, particularly beloved of students who write bad essays.”
    – Dominic Watt, Department of Linguistics & Phonetics, University of Leeds.

    No point ‘clogging’ up your writing with unnecessary pretensions!

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