rocks and stones

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Thu Nov 20 17:41:07 UTC 2003

A rock in my shoe?  That would suggest an abnormally big chunk to me!

If a stone barge is the same as the old Linguistic Atlas item "stoneboat,"
I'm with David; we had a stoneboat on our family farm in Minnesota, to haul
stones (not rocks, though they could be pretty big) out of the fields.  We
also skipped stones.

We also had rock quarries (and gravel pits--are they the same?) in
Minnesota, but in southern Indiana the (lime)stone quarries are everywhere.

At 04:33 PM 11/19/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear me, I haven't been following this one for a number of reasons and I
>haven't got the time to go through everything that's been written in this
>As I recall from geology class, rocks are mixtures of minerals hence
>"rocks and minerals".  Stones were undifferentiated rocks.
>I can say that there's a stone in my shoe.  But, I think I'd be more
>likely to say there's a rock in my shoe (or maybe a pebble).
>There is in Hyde Park (NY) a stone wall restoration project.  But I can
>say either rock wall or stone wall.  I think the latter is my preference.
>I can skip stones or rocks.  But I think I'd be inclined to say stones.
>I'd say stone barge not rock barge.  I'd say rock quarry before stone
>And, finally, stone's throw is a set phrase.  I would be surprised to find
>"rock's throw."
>More later.  By the way, is anyone keepting tabs on these?
>David Barnhart
>American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> writes:
> >---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >-----------------------
> >Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >Poster:       "Kathleen E. Miller" <millerk at NYTIMES.COM>
> >Subject:      Re: rocks and stones
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------
> >
> >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
> >purpose.)
> >
> >
> >Kathleen E. Miller
> >Research Assistant to William Safire
> >The New York Times
> >

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