Grace and Favor or Like

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.

-Walt Disney

favorite (noun): a person or thing that is liked more than others.

like (verb): to enjoy (something); to get pleasure from (something); to regard (something) in a favorable way; to feel affection for (someone); to enjoy being with (someone)

Favorite. I often wonder what word can fill a reader or listener with delight. What word could be more pleasant and full of wonder? It’s a word to be shared with others or scribbled gleefully in the pages of a diary.

But, dear reader, I must confess a secret. I am not a fan of favorite.

Perhaps it’s the length. It could be all the hard consonants. No, I won’t dissemble with you. It’s all about the root.

Favor strikes me as condescending—a little like Queen Elizabeth bestowing her patronage on pizza or chocolate cake.

Like is my word of choice in these matters. The L evokes warm feelings and reminds me of love. Then, as though declaring its individuality, the vowel that follows announces its own name. More importantly, I like that like is a verb—it makes my enjoyment, pleasure, and regard more active. However, I can’t claim to aspire to the status of wordsmith if I rest on the laurels of just one word.

It brings to mind one of my favorite (it couldn’t be helped) exchanges in the movie, Sense and Sensibility.

Elinor Dashwood: I do not attempt to deny that I think very highly of him, that I… greatly esteem him… I like him.

Marianne: “Esteem him?” “Like him?” Use those insipid words again and I shall leave the room this instant.[1]

A word should be appropriate to the situation and I agree with Marianne when she calls her sister’s choice of words insipid. So, instead of favorite or like better to use a word that paints a picture.

I relish the taste of dark chocolate.

I have a fondness for cool, drizzly days.

I have a weakness for a well-turned phrase uttered by an intelligent man.

To paraphrase Disney, liking ourselves makes us unique. To turn it another way, choosing our words with care also makes expressiveness unique. I’d like to think my favorite words are another way I’m unique.

What words do you favor, like and esteem?

[1] Quote from Sense and Sensibility, 1995, courtesy of

Open book and glasses

True Love…and Words

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories about the death of kings.–Richard II, Shakespeare

Richard was lamenting the loss of his title and crown, but my lament is about the king of all—words.

As a nation of many tongues, it can be hard to officially pinpoint our language. But if we base it on the amount of channels provided by cable, including the international and Latino packs, we mostly speak English. As a person who speaks more than one language, I can tell you that my favorite language, hands-down, is English. It’s rich without being too flowery. It’s succinct, but has the capacity to be diplomatic, romantic and aggressive all at the same time. Other languages have the same ability I’m sure, but I tend to geek out over words in English (although I’m not above geeking out over words in other languages, too).

That’s why, I’m increasingly confounded by our use of it. We’re lazy in our speech and resort to hyperbole inordinately. Everything is awesome or extreme. No longer do we make mistakes—we have epic fails. Considering that the latter expression can be used for something as innocuous as buying the wrong toothpaste, is it any wonder we have lost

Open book and glasses

Courtesy of Darren Lewis from

weather. I’ve loved a chair just because I was tired and needed to sit. I have even, on occasion, used the word awesome to describe something as trivial as a spoon. Our language banks are full of unused words that we learned once for the SATs and then discarded for something more banal. Words are king and should be afforded just as much pomp and circumstance. In a world that gets its fill of news in less than 140 characters, shouldn’t those characters pack as much punch as possible?

This blog seeks, in its own small way, to revive the wonder of words, the virtue of vocabulary and the lyricism of linguistics. I hope, dear reader, you’ll find curiosities to enjoy and share some of your own.