Speaking of death... ( Gee, hasn't Fence Post been a barrel of laughs lately, huh? )
This topic came up today in the writing workshop I ( try to ) facilitate. I say try because a fight broke out this morning. Last time this happened someone took offense at someone using the word " infer, " when the other guy thought " imply " was the right word. Dove over the table and started punching the guy, yelling as he did this:
" See this fist, ink breath? This IMPLIES! What you're about to feel is the INFERENCE! "
Every time he punched the other guy, he shouted:
" I imply! You infer! I imply. You infer. I imply... "
Today the fight was about the use of " half staff " and " half mast. " Someone thought half staff is used most of the time, and half mast is used only when the flag in question is on a ship. The two writers went at it. Punching and kicking. Nothing got resolved. I stepped in, tried to facilitate.
" I'll google this when I get home, " I said.
I just did that. Got an email address of some company down south that makes flags. The website said if you have any questions about flags, email us. I did, and I'm waiting for a response. It's lunchtime. No one's got back to me. It's probably a small company. Maybe someone called out sick today. Maybe there's usually only two people there, and today there's only one.
Maybe they're half staffed, so to speak.
I'll let you know what the answer is. Until then, if the question comes up, whether it's staff or mast, I'd recommend saying: " Whatever. "
You have to pick your battles. The difference between infer and imply? That's one I'd get into a knock down, drag out fight over. The flag thing? Ain't worth it. But that's just my humble opinion.