The Grammarphobia Blog

Meet Pat today in New York

She’ll be at the Mid-Manhattan Library, 40th St. and Fifth Ave., on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss “The Ear of the Beholder: What Makes a Word Beautiful?”

Everybody, it seems, has a favorite word or two.  For some people, a beautiful word is one that means something beautiful to them—like “bucolic” or “love.”

For others, music is everything, and a word isn’t beautiful unless it has a pleasing blend of sounds—like “cellar-door.”

Some words satisfy both camps; they not only sound pleasing, but they have emotional associations that add to their beauty. Henry James’s favorite phrase, “summer afternoon,” comes to mind.

In her talk, Pat will discuss notions about beauty in language, and share her thoughts about what makes a word beautiful.