usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

Half-Mast, Half-Staff, Half-Cocked


When I was younger, there was a place called the Museum of Television & Radio in which I could watch old TV shows. It was like an amusement park to me — but much less expensive. I wiled away hours watching cartoons, pilots and finales.

The place is now called the Paley Center for Media, but I don’t go anymore. I have Netflix.

Now, I can watch all the TV shows I want. The current one my wife and I are enjoying is “Criminal Minds.” We’re only in Season 2, so Mandy Patinkin hasn’t been replaced by Joe Mantegna yet. My wife’s favorite character is Dr. Spencer Reid, portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler. He reminds me of Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) from “The Big Bang Theory” but with less humor.

In one episode, characters are talking about flying a flag at half-mast to honor a dead officer, when Reid interrupts and corrects them, saying it’s half-staff. Half-mast is reserved for ships.

When I was a kid, flag were always flown at half-mast, so I wondered who was right.

My research concluded that a fictional character was correct. In this country, it’s half-staff when flying over non-nautical things. Many countries still use the term half-mast when we would use half-staff.

Let’s not go off half-cocked on this matter.

Until next time! Use the right words!
leebarnathan.com

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January 28, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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