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Another vocabulary dispute

After reading Joe Lstiburek's recent article on cellulose, I felt the need to champion the cause of usage and spelling by pointing out that a contractor can be instructed to dense-pack cellulose, but the resulting insulation is "dense-packed cellulose."

"Packed" is a past participle. I urge my fellow writers not to drop the "-ed," lest we fall into Clinton-speak -- you know, the old faux-bubba routine in which he dropped his g's: "I'm glad to see your smilin' faces today."

I have posted my rationale on my old vocabulary blog, Green Building Vocabulary Disputes.

Asked by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Dec 15, 2010 5:43 PM ET
Edited Dec 15, 2010 5:44 PM ET

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14 Answers

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1.

Humor......

(hopefully anyway)

Martin, Did you really "felt" the need to champion proper use of language?

Steve El

Answered by Steve El
Posted Dec 15, 2010 5:57 PM ET

2.

As a stickler for clear and accurate language, I think the common usage of "dense pack cellulose" is fine, as it is meant to differentiate itself from attic "loose fill cellulose" (not loose filled).

Cel-Pak.png
Answered by Riversong
Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:04 PM ET
Edited Dec 15, 2010 10:36 PM ET.

3.

Steve,
OK, I didn't feel a need, I experienced an impulse. Better?

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:07 PM ET

4.

Be careful Robert......lest we all forget Clinton saying "That depends on what your definition of 'is', 'is'"?

Answered by Chad Statz
Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:13 PM ET

5.

Let's not forget that the only reason Clinton said "That depends on what your definition of 'is', 'is" is because the Republicans couldn't find any evidence of criminal activity and had to resort to impeaching the president for a sexual dalliance, which made us the laughing stock of the world (with the French saying that, if their political leaders DIDN'T have affairs, they would be impeached), and demeaned one of the most important constitutional checks on the abuse of power.

But that's politics, not linguistics, and we shouldn't go there.

Here is a legitimate semantic peeve:

An astounding number of highly educated speakers, including many in the news media, use introductory clauses like "The fact of the matter is" as a subjective phrase and follow it by the very same verb the clause ends with, such as: "The fact of the matter is, is that Clinton's awkward attempt at explanation should never have been forced by his rabid political enemies."

Answered by Riversong
Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:37 PM ET
Edited Dec 15, 2010 6:37 PM ET.

6.

I apologize for my lame attempt at vocabulary humor, Martin. Some version of the verb "to feel" was and remains just fine with me. I found humor in the past tense form "felt" to describe a present tense state of mind in a post about language. Of course, most normal people don't find that sort of thing funny. Just ask my wife! Foolishly, she ad libbed a wedding vow to always laugh _convincingly_ at my puns.

Steve El

Answered by Steve El
Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:56 PM ET

7.

Energy AND grammar nerds.

Answered by Brett Moyer
Posted Dec 15, 2010 7:36 PM ET

8.

...

grammar police.jpg
Answered by Riversong
Posted Dec 15, 2010 8:09 PM ET

9.

I'm wondering if it should be "densely packed cellulose"? All kidding aside, as long as the thought is conveyed without question, hasn't language done its job?

Answered by Jim Bannon
Posted Dec 16, 2010 12:07 AM ET

10.

...

body-language.jpg
Answered by Riversong
Posted Dec 16, 2010 12:16 AM ET

11.

Martin, should Flash and Batt be referred to as Flashed and Batted?

Seriously, should it?

Answered by michael maines
Posted Dec 16, 2010 10:04 AM ET

12.

Michael,
No. "Run and jump" can be an athletic event, and "flash and batt" can be a technique.

Someone should batt you on the head for suggesting we use "batt" as a verb.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Dec 16, 2010 10:32 AM ET

13.

There is a lot of "flash and batt" on some street corners.....

Answered by Steve El
Posted Dec 16, 2010 10:38 AM ET

14.

I think that 'densely-packed shredded recycled cellulose fiber insulation with borate treatment to prevent pest infestation' should be the preferred term. That's what I write on all my specs.

Answered by James Morgan
Posted Dec 16, 2010 11:03 AM ET

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