or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Here's the first paragraph from a recent Slate.com piece about oral sex:

Two days ago, I wrote that oral sex was becoming destigmatized and normalized, thwarting parents who had hoped they could "stick to the basics" in talking to their kids about sex. Many of you wrote back, dismissing my assumptions as prude, antiquated, and out of touch. You argued that oral sex has always been more basic and common than vaginal sex and that the idea of recent stigma against it is a myth.

Does Saletan think that "prude" is an adjective?

I mean, I suppose it could be, if you didn't have any choice. English has a charming propensity for putting one word into service as various parts of speech. But we already have two workable adjectival forms of "prude": the usual "prudish" and the less common "prudelike" (which Dictionary.com, bafflingly, says is the only adjective, even though it isn't even in my computer's spelling dictionary and I've never heard it before). But the example in question strikes me as like using "dogma" instead of "dogmatic". Wouldn't any editor have changed "prude" to "prudish"? I know I would have.

I guess "prude" in that context isn't completely indefensible. It's not wrong, exactly. It's just not right, either.


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