George Mason University has bought a Vocabula Review site license

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Nov 5 20:12:13 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM, Michael Quinion
<wordseditor at> wrote:

> Paul Frank wrote:
>> Neither the OED nor my trusty desk dictionary takes account of the
>> ostracizing and distancing semantic nuance of this courtesy title.
> I was the first to use the form, so perhaps I should comment. I was being
> formal, in my old-fashioned British way. Formality seemed to be called for
> under the circumstances. Don't read too much into it.

Michael, you may well be right that I was reading too much into it.
The thing of it is, though, that I've noticed this distancing use of
"Mr." around many virtual water coolers.


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
paulfrank at

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list