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July 1991

Word Choice-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics 600 Highland Ave Madison, WI 53792

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(7):724. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160070018013

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In Reply.—Dr Gorlick apparently read my article with care and disagreed with my choice of words. Responding to his confusion, I could have sought refuge in my ethnicity. After all, when one is my age (sixtysomething) and harbors more than one language in his shrinking cerebral cortex, he ought to be entitled to a bit of poetic license. However, that would be a geriatric cop-out, so I consulted my dictionary.

Largely, used as an adverb, means "for the most part; mainly."1(p715) Therefore, we can "largely" abandon a procedure without incurring the wrath of Strunk or White or any other protectors of the English language.

Magic, in addition to the common meanings (which include practices of alchemists), is defined as a "mysterious quality of enchantment."1(p753) If Dr Gorlick has seen appreciation in the eyes of patients and their families after bringing comfort to their lives, he knows magic. If he

American Heritage Dictionary . Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin Co; 1982:715, 753.