A Word is Born


I love the little book The Elements of Style for two reasons. First, it offers great writing advice, that I have often been tempted to put into practice. But more importantly, the author’s name is Strunk. If I had not been blinded by the kindness, faithfulness, funniness, and handsomeness of my husband, I would have married someone with a more interesting last name, something like Strunk.  Teacher Strunk has such a nice sound, although if you say it very fast several times, it begins to sound like teacher’s drunk.

Ancestry.com says the name comes from Germany, the place that also gave us Colonel Klink. Another name I wish was mine.  The Germans are also responsible for the pattern of vowel change in some of our irregular verbs like drink, drank, drunk and shrink, shrank, shrunk. But whatever happened  to the trio of  think, thank, thunk? Down in Texas we thank about things like that, and when we notice that we don’t think anymore, we say, who woulda thunk it?

But back to that tantalizing name, Strunk. Why has no one coupled the content of the book with the author’s name and coined a verb to describe the act of revising and perfecting a composition?

(strink – /strɪŋk/ verb, strank (past tense), strunk (past participle) — to apply the principles of The Elements of Style to a manuscript or composition)

Yearstricken: (passing the essay back to the student) You need to strink this.

Student: But teacher, I strank it last night.

Yearstricken: (growing more alliterative by the moment) Strink harder! Only the student who has strunk sufficiently succeeds and scores an A.

Thunk! The sound of me coining a word.

4 thoughts on “A Word is Born

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