Field of Science

Fun with English

Language is funny, especially English, a wonderful rule-defying, conglomerate of confusing sound-alike words with different usages where it ain't regular unless it's irregular. What is most amusing is how the biggest differences occur among those who consider English as their native tongue. And so this article caught my eye because of my uncertainty of what a "crisp opportunity" would be, my mind being prepared for its use as an adjective, i.e., crisp as opposed to soggy, or damp, a limp, all rather unappealing opportunities. Caught by the English use of "crisp" as a synonym for "chip". Now this is one of those instances where crisp seems preferable to chip, consider: potato chip, cow chip, wood chip. In general not very appetizing. Yet the use of "cookie" over "biscuit" must be defended because across a great portion of the USA if you order "biscuit and gravy" for breakfast (and that's not biscuits, always singular, never plural) you don't want gravy on oreos. Apparently a real biscuit has no name in English English. And savory mince on toast simply doesn't measure up in name, texture, or taste. So the Phactor hopes no one has a chip on their shoulder, cow or otherwise, when he points out that the potato chip was invented in Saratoga Springs, New York about 160 years ago starting a crisp opportunity.

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