rocks and stones

Kathleen E. Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Wed Nov 19 20:59:55 UTC 2003

Stone, to me, in general means the mineral/material itself. A rock is a
piece of that.The wall is made of stone as opposed to concrete or masonry.
But the stone wall is made up of a bunch of rocks one got at the Stone
Quarry. The patio is made of flagstone but it's just bunch of flat rocks.

I would never say there's a stone in my shoe, or let's go skip stones, it
is, alas just a stone's throw, however. [Sigh]. Which makes me go along
with the smoothness, craggy- ness explanation. The shiny, round, polished
things that are in the vase which holds my "lucky (HA!) bamboo" are stones.
The rough, grey things I dig up in the garden outside are rocks.

(Of course when my boyfriend the landscaper/mason came home with a
truckload of rough, red, varying in size and shape ROCKS, his comment to me
upon my question, "What's with the rocks?" was "Those aren't rocks, it's
SENECA STONE" -- blew my theory all to hell. His theory (native Marylander
and, harking back to an earlier discussion, proud to call himself and be
called a TERP) is that rocks are unadulterated, stones were cut for a

Kathleen E. Miller
Research Assistant to William Safire
The New York Times

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