rocks and stones

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Thu Nov 20 17:33:48 UTC 2003

I've learned to use "crushed stone" if I'm talking about gravel for a
driveway; the haulers here in SE Ohio don't seem to use "gravel" in that
context.  Is there a connotative difference?

At 04:43 PM 11/19/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Pay no attention whatsoever to your boyfriend. If we open the can of
>worms of professional language, we will begin to deal with 'pea,'
>'chat,' and all kinds of stuff that real people (generally) don't
>know anything about (until you order a "load of gravel" and encounter
>a whole new world of words for 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
>Kathleen E. Miller
>Research Assistant to William Safire
>The New York Times

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