Thursday, August 9, 2012

Enteries (for Entries)

What do you say when someone knocks on your door? (Someone, that is, whom you want to see, not a bill collector or Jehovah's Witness or what have you.) Most English speakers respond: "Come in" or "Come on in" or maybe "Enter." En français it would be "Entrez." (Although French eateries are also known for other kinds of entrées.) Certain folks like to spice up their replies with a cheery "Welcome!" or a cautious "Who's there?" Others might chide: "Don't stand out there in the hallway." Or, depending on who it is, urgently hiss: "Get in here!" Literary types may even jokingly issue the dire-sounding advisory: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" (the inscription on the Gates of Hell from Dante's Inferno). The thesaurus isn't much help in this regard, although you could try telling your visitor to "make an entrance" and then see what happens. The mathematician Paul Erdős liked to tell a story about calling on a schizophrenic colleague who timidly opened his door a crack and said: "Please come another time and to another person." Today's blog entry managed to enter into OhioLINK four times, and WorldCat forty-four more.

(A door knocker in Orléans, France, 2004, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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