Archives for posts with tag: grammar

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

“The more things change, the more they are the same.”

This is a well-known quotation from Les Guêpes by Alphonse Karr.  (The  Penguin Dictionary of Quotations)  Les Guêpes translates as The Wasps and was a journal.

To turn the tide was something King Canute could not do.  The expression is used about changing trends in behaviour, morals and other aspects of the life of communities or nations.

File:Cnut the Great Obverse.jpg
Coin of Cnut the Great from the British Museum

Photo credit Wikimedia commons

The tide is turning; there are signs that change is coming.

Birds wheeling is an expression which puts me in mind of seagulls rising on thermals.  Birds don’t have wheels or even push anything on wheels along.

Turn the tables on is an expression about reversed circumstances.

A turntable revolves on a record-player (vinyl records) or to turn a railway engine (locomotive).

It all hinges on… is an expression about possibilities.  A door-hinge allows a door to open.

The key to … A key opens a door, a drawer, a piano.  Without it nothing is accessible.

It’s key has become a popular expression in recent years, turning it into an adjective.

A key person is also known as a linchpin.  This is a pin, which keeps a wheel attached to an axle, preventing disaster.

It’s pivotal.  A pivot is a point on which something balances.  A seesaw has one in the middle, but if the two children are different weights, it will not balance.  They have to make an effort to make it go up and down.

The crux of the matter is…

…crux is Latin for cross.  The cross on which Jesus died is pivotal to the Christian faith.

In The Acts of the Apostles, St Luke wrote about how a cripple was healed in the name of Jesus by Peter and John (Chapter 3).  In the following chapter Peter explained to his accusers the good news. Chapter 4 verses 8-22

That put a spanner in the works.  Used properly a spanner tightens and loosens nuts (on the ends of bolts).  Any machinery with a lump of metal loose in it is likely to malfunction or jam.  In a figurative way a spanner in the works might describe an unexpected difficulty.

Take a crowbar to it.
A crowbar is a very heavy lever.  A smaller version is a jemmy, which is associated with burglars.  Jemmy, like Jimmy, is a pet form of James.

If someone is in a flat spin they are agitated.

To do the twist was popular when I was young.  The twist was a dance, possibly the first which broke away from traditional dancing such as ballroom, Latin-American and country dancing, in that it did not require partners.

Twist and turn are often used together.  A winding road, a writhing snake…

Margaret Thatcher, when she was Prime Minister, made a famous speech.  She said, “The lady is not for turning.”  Everyone seems to remember the speech and the debate about making a U-turn, but I don’t suppose I am the only one to have forgotten what the policy was.

Nowadays if a driver tries to go on a route not programmed by a satnav (GPS device), a voice might say “Do a U-turn.”

Turning points are stages during life when changes are made.  I wrote a poem with this title in April 1995.

Turning points

Each time we think of You,
Not self, we acknowledge
Our choice.
Paul and many others
Suddenly converted
By You
Have powerful stories
To tell and tell again.
But we
Following tradition
Take small steps quietly
Led on
Weekly through bread and wine
Repenting at leisure.
How few
Truly renew their vows
At each baby’s baptism.
Do you?

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is the title and first line of perhaps my favourite picture book.  It is by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
The alliteration makes it fun.
Playing a hangman game with friends once, they suggested that P was my favourite letter.  Probably true.  This post has a preponderance of Ps.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper is the opening of a tongue-twister.
Pen-pushers are provided with plenty of technical terms beginning with P.  The majority of tenses do: present, past, perfect, pluperfect.  A past participle is needed for the latter pair.
Pronouns and proper nouns, parts of speech and polysyllabic words provide further examples.  A sentence has a subject and predicate.  At primary school I practised picking them out, but I was never taught how to parse as per my parents’ generation.
Wordplay includes puns, palindromes, puzzles and punch lines.
Phrases and pseudonyms need the letter P, but avoid the explosive, popping sound it makes.
Are you puzzled and perplexed?  I am going to proofread, polish and publish this post.  Then I hope you, my public, will peruse it or pore over it.
There are many possibilities for people of faith to use words beginning with P.
We can pray, praise, make pleas or petitions, sing psalms and possibly prophesy.  We can read the pronouncements of the prophets and know the peace which passes all understanding.

There are plenty of scripture passages using repeated Ps.

In the King James Version of Deuteronomy Chapter 14 verse 2 For thou art an holy people unto  the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself…   The link goes to a modern translation.