Posted in Grammar Nazi, Parenting

Discourse with Daughter-Face

Kacey texted: “What is the word for when you attribute human characteristics to something that isn’t human, or possibly even inanimate?  I tried to think of it for an hour last night and couldn’t come up with anything.”

And because I’m a good mommy, which you know by now, because I tell you all the time, I answered: “Personification”

She replied: “Are you sure?” (Am I sure? Does she KNOW to whom she is speaking? Of course I’m sure! Even when I’m wrong, I’m sure!)

“Yes,” I stated, “Personification is a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form, as in ‘Hunger sat shivering on the road.’

She retorted, “No, I just googled it, and I found ANTHROPOMORPHISM: The attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena…BooYah!”

“NOT the same thing,” I argued, “as anthropomorphism is a basic cognitive process in which some entity comes to stand for or represent something else. It is more sociological in nature, whereas personification is more literary.”

Her reply: “Is TOO the same thing. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I was thinking of your word anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

Then we discussed her brother dressing up like a log.