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My son has speech delay.

At 18 months old Goob couldn’t convey a definite word. There was the occasional babble, yet no “mama”, no “papa”. He couldn’t even ask for a drink. When he sought something, he’d mewl incomprehensibly, tasking his mama and me with cycling through all the possible categories of his wants.

“Are you thirsty? No.”

“Are you hungry? No.”

“Have you gone poo? Oh my, yes!”

Worse than his inability to vocalise, Goob couldn’t indicate. At 18 months old he had acquired neither the meaning, nor the action, of pointing. Efforts to teach him baby signing yielded…

Excluding the poets, there are two kinds of writer: those that are geniuses and those that are not. The geniuses need no guidance. The other group, where most of us must accept our place sooner or later, require, in addition to a working knowledge of grammar, some general principles to guide us in the pursuit of style. For non-geniuses to hope to do without them is folly; one non-genius may succeed without principles — this is true — but another nine will flounder, fall, and eventually fail, when they might have otherwise succeeded. …

“It transpired” does not mean ‘it happened’. Why then do so many writers insist otherwise? Perhaps the cause is ignorance; more likely it is a poor effort towards cultivating a style. Either way it is pretentious, for the writer who seeks to improve upon the simple clarity inherent in an expression like “it happened” can be nothing less than pretentious. Such a writer forgets that, unless they are attempting poetry, prose should be their aim: and prose is not “it transpired”; prose is “it happened”.

Even if there come a day when the Oxford English Dictionary concedes defeat and grants…

Jess Stottle

Papa of Goob | Spouse of Dawn | Writer of Prose and Poetry

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