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Words March 23

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Let him speak now or forever hold his piece:

“A Sikh warrior wears a 463-yard-long turban as he speaks his peace Tuesday at the Anandpur Sahib shrine near Chandigarh, India, during Hola Mohalla, a festival saluting martial preparedness.”



“Arkansas’s defense shined in the third and fourth innings when Cal State Northridge (9-12) had seven hits but managed only one run.”

Q. Isn’t shone the past tense of shine?

A. Generally, yes, but it’s becoming less so.

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage says:

“The verb shine has traditionally been irregular, with shone as both past tense and past participle, and shone is still standard when referring to light or other kinds of luminescence: Through the glass shone God’s sun. His humanity had always shone through. But the regular form shined is usual when it’s a matter of polishing shoes: His shoes were shined to perfection.

“American writers make more use of shined, not only when the verb means ‘polish,’ but as an alternative in other senses of shine: The day shined blankly. Everybody in the team shined. Such uses of shined are regarded as standard by Webster’s English Usage … though shone still outnumbers shined overall by a factor of 2:1.”

I would have written “Arkansas’s defense shone in the third and fourth innings … ” I like irregular verbs. They bring diversity to the language.



Bill Priakos of Fort Smith is among those who believe that done is overdone:

“How did we start with ‘I’m done’? Or, ‘Are you done with that?’ I don’t get it. Finished, OK; same for through, but done? Done is for the turkey in the oven. I think it is native to the Midwest. An associate from Michigan first used it improperly (in my opinion) in the early ’70s.” TV may have helped spread this usage from other parts of the country. It’s not incorrect, according to Random House, but to some people — mostly Southerners of a certain age (mine and Priakos’) — it’ll never sound right.


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