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Letters: Appreciating words

August 08, 2012

Re "OMG! Texting ruins kids' grammar," Business, Aug. 4

Your article on the ill effects of texting on grammar contains an unwitting error that exemplifies another issue in language: the need for broader knowledge and appreciation of words.

The article states that a sentence used in the grammar test — "Worried, and frayed, the old man paced the floor" — is incorrect because "frayed" should be "afraid." In fact, one proper meaning of "frayed" is "afraid." The two words are related. In the Oxford English Dictionary, one meaning of "fray" is "to affect with fear, make afraid, frighten." American dictionaries, though less comprehensive, reveal the same.

I don't mean to criticize the test author; "frayed" in this sense is not used much today. I mean only to urge people to think more about words; it can be lots of fun.

Ira Spiro

Los Angeles

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