By ANNE DONNELL How about the difference between quote and quotation? Is that still observed? -Florida PhD (in English)The dictionary stands firm on this while the shoals of American lips and computers wash to and fro. Dictionaries can be spineless – no pun intended so no reference to electronics – willing to jump through gibberish and mix with the “cool” ones, dumping centuries of precedent right in the nearest river: Cumberland, Mississippi, Charles, Thames. Oh, no, you’re thinking. Geography again. A couple of weeks ago it was Mauritania and Connecticut. Soon there will be mumbling about gross national products and mountain ranges. There will be little smudgy maps and migraine incentive thought questions about markets and transportations systems. Well, no. A brief break and then we’ll examine the Q’s (quote and quotation – no quiz). ONLINE DEPARTMENT (Thanks, C.G.) “Dog Diary and Cat Diary” DOG DIARY •8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing! •9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing! •9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing! •10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing! •12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing! •1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing! •3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing! • 5:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing! •7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing! •8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing! • 11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing! CAT DIARY • Day 983 of my captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. • Today, I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. The jerks. • There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage. •Today, I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. • I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously mentally deficient. I purr in disgust. Repeatedly I have mentioned the interesting tension in language use, a tension between standard practice enshrined in rules and change. We do need the one (rules), and we do receive the other (change). Some of us, when we were participating in what’s called formal education, became thoroughly acquainted with the rules. Some of us picked them up in the best kind of education, that not-revered-enough School of Life. I love this Facebook excerpt from a site devoted to Mrs. Carol Tripoli, 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Cheyenne Mountain Charter School in Wyoming. “This is a group for all of us who suffered through Mrs. Carole Tripoli's English classes… We now realize how amazing she is! haha. We're all grammar Nazis because of her! :) So many memories - share yours here! You know you were in Mrs. Tripoli's class if: *"Stop while you're ahead" brings back memories for you. *You spent long hours reading and trying to understand The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Fahrenheit 451, and Julius Caesar. *You read books in 7th grade that fellow classmates didn't read until college! *You know what a parenthetical expression is. *“If in doubt, leave it out.” *You made sure you knew the score of the Giants games, because if she asked and you didn’t know, she’d give you homework. *You're a beast at diagramming sentences. *You hear a quotation and realize that it was one of many you had to copy off the board everyday in 7th and 8th grade English. *You know the difference between "quote" and "quotation." [Emphasis added]*You could flip between your grammar, vocab, spelling, and literature homework faster than anyone else. *In high school, you ended up editing everyone's research papers. *Half of the words in your college essays came from your 7th grade vocab book. *You still know the entire preamble to the Constitution.*You memorized “The Song of Hiawatha,” and the first line still makes you laugh. *Your older siblings told you horror stories about her class…*You now have a fetish for good grammar and you’re not sure why.” So, to answer today’s question. Here’s the rule: Quotation is a noun; quote is a verb. The change: People are increasingly using quote as a verb. It’s informal and common. If you’re unsure stick to the rule. If you ever meet Mrs. Tripoli, mind your p’s and q’s. You’re in the presence of greatness.