Today USns celebrate Independence Day. In 1776 John Adams, later to be the second president of the US, wrote his wife Abigail,
chrysanthemum shell – a spherical burst, in which the stars leave a visible trail
(contrast peony shell, in which the stars do not leave a trail)This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
I notice that, rather than write a letter, Mr Adams decided to write a wife. The dropping of the "to" from "wrote to" in US English has always struck me as odd. Is this the only occasion when this happens? I don't recall hearing of people who spoke their wife, for instance.
We have discussed ditransitive verbs here before. The upshot is in the States (and Canada, too), we turned write into one, rather than not as in the UK. Just one of the many differences that unite our languages.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
I sang my wife a song of love.
I sent her a bouquet of flowers.
Oh, what a good husband I am.
I'm a bit confused by "write" being a ditranstive verb.
I wrote my wife a song.
I sang my wife a song.
I wrote my wife.
* I sang my wife.
Obviously there is some difference between these two verbs. Is there a term describing a ditransitive word which takes an optional second argument?
The fireworks you see outdoors are generally shells.
shell – the most spectacular of fireworks comprising a lifting charge (to propel the shell into the air) and a bursting charge to eject stars or subassemblies in the air after a predetermined delay
ground burst – a low level burst of a shell; potentially very dangerous
What kind of firework would not be a shell? Here is an example.
gerb – a firework that throws out a shower of sparks. [French gerb sheaf of corn (wheat?)]
I guess my question was really is this the only such difference between US and UK English?
Here's some information from The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffry Pullum:
[Added more information.]
This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Interesting etymology today.
maroon – an exploding device that produces a loud bang
[from French marron chestnut (from the noise they make in a fire)]
A maroon makes a loud noise. Here is another noisemaker.
hummer – a device that produces a humming sound. It is usually a sealed tube and pierced near each end on opposite sides, so that the sound is made as the device spins rapidly in flight
whizzer – an American name for a hummer
tourbillion – 1. lit. or fig.: a whirling mass or system; a vortex; a whirl; an eddy, a whirlpool. 2. a firework which spins as it rises, forming a spiral or scroll of fire.
[from F. for 'whirlwind'; ultimately from Gr. 'noise, confusion'. accent on second syllable]
– Stacy Schiff, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America
Aerial maroons, bombshells filled with stars, rockets fizzing in tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands, Roman candles, electric spray, tourbillions and diamond dust lit the night sky…
– Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: [etc.]
I'm reading another work by Schiff, a biography of St-Exupery. I like her style.
brocade – a star that burns long, so that it leaves down-drooping trails of light as it falls
kamuro – like a brocade, but leaving longer trails; a sort of "weeping willow" effect
These two are from a 'fireworks' source; I am unable to confirm them. Other sources indicate that in Japanese, a kamuro is "a young female attendant in child-age of a high ranking prostitute," sort of a courtesan-in-training.