Watch these words!

I was recently going through some old files and found a letter to the editor of our Montreal paper in which I pointed out that the Lancet was not a ‘muckraking’ in the negative sense the paper’s editorial implied. As I noted, muckraking is a positive term; an activity that sheds light on bad behaviour, especially at the political level. Now you have my first lesson. For a more difficult assignment, tell me whether you think the word ‘fulsome’ is a compliment or an insult. No checking with Google allowed! Once you learn the truth, you will probably be wise to choose using the word in the first place. And while I am rambling on, may I once again argue that not every majority is ‘vast’, as some writers appear to insist.

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