TMG-L ArchivesArchiver > TMG > 2001-05 > 0989284746
From: Bob Geldart <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] "Circa" & other events of whatever duration
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 21:19:06 -0400
At 07:33 PM 5/6/2001, Dean wrote:
>Marty Ryerson is quite right. "Circa" is without question pedantic. And
>to paraphrase Wilfred Allan, it is also obsolescent, and is rapidly being
>replaced with "about"....
>Except for "circa" TMG's date modifiers seem to work pretty well for me,
>though I don't agree with everyone's precise definitions of what each modifier
>means. If I use "say 1942" I mean 1942, give or take not more than a year;
>if I use "say March 1942" I mean March 1942, give or take not more than a
>month; if I use say 1 March 1942 I mean 1 March 1942, give or take
>not more than a few days.
But on the surface, this may not be clear to your reader unless you have
explained it clearly, eg,
"Columbus discovered the new world in, say, 1492 (give or take not more
than a year)." And what if your parameters were actually 18 months or, in
some cases, could be as much as two years. Would that be clear in itself?
Or would you be better off parenthetically including parameters with each
>If I use "circa" 1942, depending on the context, I may mean 1942, give
>or take a generation, or I may mean give or take a century, or I may
>mean give or take a millennium or so.
"Circa" has no more (or less) exactitude than "say".
There is a quote, I believe from Alice in Wonderland (Through the Looking
Glass) which basically says, "It means what I say it means...."
>But since I'm the author I'm willing to take full responsibility for
>conveying my meaning, subject to the requirement that the report is
>written MY way.
For myself, I have no problem with "circa", nor with "about" or "around".
However, "say" has too much of a vagueness. It says to be, the reader, that
the writer has an idea of the date but can't pinpoint it so he is offering
an assumption, which could be based on wishful thinking or fabrication, it
sounds almost offhand.
And it's easier to abbreviate circa....
|Re: [TMG] "Circa" & other events of whatever duration by Bob Geldart <>|