Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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20

Feb

2023

About those New Year’s resolutions

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday January 8, 2023

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions last weekend? When I broached that subject informally, a group of friends more or less agreed – they don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because they knew they’d break those resolutions. Maybe even that same evening, if the resolution involved chocolate or wine.
Or else they knew their good intentions were too idealistic: “Peace to the world.” “End poverty and starvation.” “Cure the climate crisis.”
I share those misgivings. But I also feel it’s worthwhile to make resolutions, periodically. And a New Year seems as good a time as any to make them.
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15

Feb

2020

My best New Year’s Resolution ever

Author: Jim Taylor

Back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution, but I haven’t written about it, just in case it turned out to be like so many other resolutions that last only until someone puts chocolates on the table.

            Fortunately, my resolution wasn’t about chocolates. It was about superlatives.

            To put all of this in a grammatical context, we have, generally speaking, three levels of comparison -- good, better, and best.

            One: this is good. No comparison involved. 

            Two: the comparative -- this is better. 

            Three, the superlative: this is best. Or worst, in some cases. Ideally, again, of a number of known choices. The highest score among a specific group of competitors. The fastest time in a particular high school’s track meet. The lowest temperature this winter.

            But that’s not Donald Trump’s style. He chronically uses what I think of as absolute superlatives. Asserting, for example, that he was “the greatest president ever.” Or that something was the “worst trade deal ever made.” Or that Islamic terrorism is “the greatest threat the U.S. has ever faced.”


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