Friday, November 30, 2007

Q.E.D. revisited

A couple of weeks ago I found out something which, if it is true, means that a while ago I made a pun that went straight past at least half of my readers.

It was not a very good pun, I'll freely admit. It was ridiculously forced. But it took EFFORT to make it that bad, and that is why it is rather upsetting to discover that the reason nobody sneered was probably because they didn't even notice it was there.

Varieties of English can be SO confusing. I thought I had become thoroughly acquainted with American English due to having used so many American English language learning textbooks over the years. Also, I read a lot. You'd think I'd have noticed, but it is true that you tend to notice things that are there rather than things that are not.

In this case, I did not notice that Q.E.D is not a term in general use in the U.S.

At least, according to the Americans I meet, it is not. Since many of the Americans I know are better educated than I am, I can only conclude this is one of those expressions that have become a part of the language in some places and not in others. It was hearing it used casually on a Radio New Zealand podcast on my way home that reminded me of it again today.

(For those who were wondering how to use it, Q.E.D. is a quicker way of saying, "And everything I just said proves my case. So there." Said with the right sort of emphasis, it can mean, additionally, "Bite me.")

So for those of you who read the Q.E.D. story and missed the pun, I apologize for making it too obscure and regional. But now that you know it is there, feel free to have a quiet groan, or, if you're feeling charitable, a cheap laugh.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I had no idea what QED meant.

Also, as an American I guess I would be happy to go to a Costco in Japan and find familiar things, but I don't have a Costco membership here. We don't eat much in the way of pre-packaged foods and we certainly don't need a ten pound bag of baby carrots for our small little family. Or 20 bars of chocolate. Or . . . well, you get the idea. I guess if I ever adopt ten little orphans I'll need a membership so I can buy toilet paper by the gross.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'm an American who knows what Q.E.D. means but my proximity to the UK means I've been exposed to the BBC. So I did indeed find your quack joke funny.

I also know what a fortnight is, thanks to Agatha Christie and a exhaustive dictionary, and it would be so cool to use that word.

Paula said...

I've known it for years, but I probably learned it from the Brits on Usenet. Or the lawyers.

Badaunt said...

Carrie: I can see how Costco could be useful for things like toilet paper if you have a large family. What I find harder to understand is my colleague who lives alone going there almost weekly. She doesn't entertain all that much! I wonder if she goes there just to wander around, because she's homesick...?

Keera: Fortnight is a very useful word! I was really surprised to get a blank stare the first time I used it here with an American. It was another of those words I hadn't noticed the absence of in American books or texts.

Miz UV: Yes, I can imagine some of the Brits on usenet making use of it!

Bill C said...

Still one of my favorites. Thanks for the cheap laugh (again).