The Corner

The ‘Lowest Form of Humor’? (No Way)

Okay, I gotta work, but I have to do one more Corner post — can’t resist. In today’s Impromptus, I revisit — prompted by a reader — the pronunciation of forte: which is “fort.” That’s if you mean forte as in expertise, strong suit. Forte as in loud is “for-tay.” (I could explain the roots of these things, but I have done so a hundred times, and must have bored people to tears by now.)

A reader writes, “The strong half of a fencing blade is also a forte, pronounced ‘fort,’ and is used for parries.” Great. Glad to know. But then our reader continues, “The strong parry, like unto a brick wall, is the parry Mason. The easy and apparently casual but effective parry is the parry Como. The Canadian water parry is the parry, eh?”

Don’t shoot the messenger! I mean, the printer of the letter! Shoot, instead, that punning genius from Astoria, Ore.

Thanks, and see you.

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