Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I went to public school

I do get pleasure out of the little things. (Sometimes, I'll admit, they're rather inane little things). My mother, rather than tell me that outright, would often just grin and say little things please little minds!

I am not pleased today and it is over the littlest thing.

Somehow I have made it this far in life assuming (there I go again) that "littlest" was not a word. When my daughter triumphs over her brother in a board game or race, as I remind her to stop gloating (he may be bigger than her one day), I've also quietly told her that he is smaller but he isn't "littler" because that is not a word.

So she greatly enjoyed her victory yesterday when I tried to correct her homework. She was to write five sentences, using at least two spelling words in each sentence. I told her to fix number two because she had written "littlest," which is not actually a word.

She presented her spelling list and showed me that it is not only a word but also a spelling word this week!

As I muttered comments about education today and her teacher's inattention, I pulled out the big dictionary. (To be fair, the little one leaves lots of things out!)
There they were. Both littler and littlest are apparently legitimate, correct words in the English language.

I then decided that these must be recent additions.(You know, the way that "muggle" is now in the dictionary too after the success of the Harry Potter series). However, I was wrong once again. My little dictionary was revised in 1984 and the words are there too. Even if it was new then, I've had plenty of time to get up to speed.

Maybe my little mind is a bit littler than I thought.

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