Strange Radiation

Andrew Willett, unreliable narrator.

may I just say

That notate is on that list of words that make a little muscle in my cheek twitch when I hear them? For instance, take the sentence “Please notate the number of tickets requested in the memo line.” (Please.)

The word is note. I will make allowances for notate when describing the act of recording musical notation on staff paper, or maybe when writing up choreography or something, but that’s pretty much it.


further thoughts on election night


on the lifting of voices


  1. banino

    I feel similarly about “commentate”. For more about the perversion of the English Language and how it is unavoidable and fascinating, look at “The Power of Babel” by John McWhorter. Or an article on Noah Webster in last week’s New Yorker.

  2. Oh, I know I’m pissing against the tide on this front, and under other circumstances the mutable nature of English delights me. But notate makes me crazy, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
    Yes, that Webster article was cool, and thanks for the tip on the McWhorter. Can you listate any other good ones?

  3. pablo

    I hear “orientate” or “orientated” from time to time. Always gets me riled up–but the Brits don’t seem to mind.

  4. Heather

    Yeah, we get “orientate” down here all the time. When I explained to the ER doctor that my son was disoriented, he looked confused. Then he says, “oh, you mean disorientated”. No, that’s not what I meant, but just treat him!

  5. Well, if you’d just resist the urge to bonk your sons on the head, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

  6. Heather

    yeah, if it were only that simple. It actually was a sinus infection that wouldn’t die. He ended up spending 4 1/2 days in hospital (after they ruled out meningitis, thank God) on broad spectrum iv antibiotics, iv steroids, oral antibiotics and pain killers. He missed 6 weeks of school, all up.

  7. Eeesh! Poor snookums! Glad everybody came through it okay.

  8. Heather

    thanks, me too. One of the more stressful periods of my adult life. Today is his 9th birthday, which makes it all worthwile somehow.

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