Saturday, October 15, 2022

The or That?

For 30 days now, I've been pondering a single word, whether it should be "The" or "That". There is music with each rendering, but the change of emphasis is confounding. Every day, I return to this puzzle, convince myself of a solution and make the change. "That" was today's winner.

But I sense defeat already, what will tomorrow bring? Frankly, the choice disarms me; either word adds nuance, and, clearly, it should be the one or the other. It wouldn't do to use a different construction, the piece would suffer. No, it has to be The or That.

Perversely, I note that the piece in question is scheduled to see the light in October 2025, leaving me 1,001 days to fiddle further and ponder the question. Another downside to having a large vault.

The or That? #Obsession


I was asked for more context, and actually The 9 year old had a similar problem in his grammar homework recently. Let's assume the choice is between something like this:

The X notwithstanding Y

That X notwithstanding Y

The or That?


No. I will not rewrite and remove notwithstanding. Notwithstanding stays. Don't get me started. Notwithstanding fought long and hard to get into this example. Notwithstanding has to be there. Notwithstanding your peccadilloes, we're talking about The or That here.

Also, no commas are coming into this business, would thou murder my prose?

Commas! Stay focused: The or That?


Pedantic! Yes, if you do the math, it would actually be 1,010 days not 1,001. It was poetic license. One Thousand and One Nights of editing; The or That as Scheherazade to my prose. Sue me.

My household is divided, at least the members I've consulted. I haven't dared ask the one who ran away when I last presented a poem. The others still tolerate my poetic inclinations but sadly have come down on either side of the coin. The or That remains unresolved.


Turn to verse...

The or That, that is the question
Whether 'tis nobler to aim for the consequential
To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against the declarative
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep...

I plead guilty to indecision but history will absolve me
Yes, admittedly, the word choice situation is arbitrary
A conceit, to be sure, I hear you say "Just publish already"
Throw caution to the wind, and trust your initial instinct
The or that? Really, no one will realize the distinction

No one is promised tomorrow, who knows what might come to pass
One thousand and one nights, let The or That be my epitaph
He who lies here pondered small things and kindred subjects
Whether The or That in the last sentence would be best

The or That? I daresay I plan to be a beliver
The emphasis notwithstanding the poem is a keeper
The or That? the declarative-determinative dilemma
That styling notwithstanding the poem is a keeper


The or That? a playlist

While we're at it, let's have a soundtrack for this note (spotify version) And throw in some hip-hop And some covers

What say you, Dear Reader, The or That?

(and let's not talk about This).

Let's see what surfaces in October 2025...

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Writing log. October 11, 2022

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