Ask the Paperboy, Chapter 59: Grammar Edition

By Teddy Allen

Dear Ask the Paperboy,

My understanding is that collaborative is an adjective meaning “two or more parties working together,” i.e., “a collaborative effort.” This week I heard a similar word: “cobladderative.” During a particularly long sermon, the parishioner by me said they were in a “cobladderative situation.” They looked most uncomfortable? Being just a visitor, I nodded politely and didn’t pursue a line of questioning. Any help?

Asking for a Friend

Dear Asking for a Friend,

Paperboy has been there. No fun. It’s not a religious word at all; it’s actually about as human and secular as you can get. You find yourself in cobladderative peril when your personal bladder and a long movie or long sermon conspire to make you have to decide whether to go to the bathroom or hold it until the credits. Or until the “amens.” It’s one of those potentially violent and dicey deals. If you can avoid cobladderation, the day is worth as much celebration as you can offer.

Dear Ask the Paperboy,

With Louisiana Tech and other programs about to start their baseball seasons, I read about Tech’s 2021 “historic” run last spring and in another article read of the Love Shack’s “historical moments.” Are these two adjectives interchangeable? Which is preferable?

History Fan in Ruston

Dear History,

Paperboy just dusted off his Grammar for Dummies, Junior Edition, turned to the “Things I Don’t Know” section and concluded that while both words describe the past — and everything that happens, like your reading of the question above, is now in the past — “historic” means something that’s really important. Tech hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time last spring, making it important/historic. “Historical” can be just about anything from the past that has to do with an event but isn’t necessarily the most important thing from that event: for instance, the box scores from the Regional are historical. If a batter had clobbered eight home runs in a single game, then the box score would be considered historic. (If a second-year home team batter had done it, the feat would be both historic and sophomoric, and the mood in Ruston that weekend would be as it was anyway: euphoric.) Whether or not these answers hold up, time will tell. Either way, just in case something historic happens this spring, get to a ballpark.

Dear Ask the Paperboy,

Speaking of the past, a now-seldom-used term is one of my favorites. I say term: it might even be an idiom. Oh, how I do love an idiom! Anyway, “hue and cry,” as in, “When taxes were raised, there was a great hue and cry.” My question is, Can you have one without the other?

An Idiot for Idioms

Dear Idiom Idiot,

Hue sure can.

Dear Paperboy,

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

Clever in Calhoun

Dear Clever,

We see what you did there. Why must you pun-ish us?

Until next time, feel free to submit your queries. This is a collaborative enterprise, after all, and Paperboy never sleeps.

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