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February 24, 1975

Words About Words

JAMA. 1975;231(8):846-847. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240200044027

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Some readers of the editorial, "A Word Fitly Spoken" (230:1436, 1974), were compelled to comment. For example, Hobart A. Reimann, MD, of Philadelphia, wrote:

I enjoyed reading your editorial about words. I have always used words other than "marked," "markedly" and "parameter." You could have included "dramatic." The patient made a dramatic recovery, etc.

I also object to "the patient was put on or taken off digitalis." On rounds, I usually turn the patient over to look. On two occasions students reciting a patient's record stated, "I did a urine on him"!

Most copy editors split my unsplit adverbial phrases. Henry Christian was a stickler in the matter, and always corrected my lapses.

In the quotation from Proverbs, would it not have been better to say "Words fitly spoken are like apples...."? But who am I to question biblical language?

Another reader of the earlier editorial took issue with an