Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shuffle or reshuffle? Both can, ah? Can meh?

There was a Cabinet reshuffle, said TODAY. Wait a minute... there was a Cabinet shuffle, said The Straits Times:

So which is correct? Both, many people will say. One argument is that the two terms are interchangeable when used in the context of parliamentary Cabinet changes. A more nuanced argument is that the first change after a new Cabinet -- following a general election -- is constituted is a Cabinet shuffle. After that, any further changes (until the next general election)  are Cabinet reshuffles.

But my own preference is reshuffle, even for the first change. Longman's backs me up:

Reshuffle note: These latest Cabinet changes announced yesterday (April 29) are not the first ones since the May 2011 general election.

I heard on the radio one food blogger proffering a sensible distinction between the phrases "good and cheap" and "cheap and good"...

He said something that is "good and cheap" is that which gives value for money from a range of good stuff while that which is "cheap and good" is something that is good enough from a a range of cheap stuff. Makes sense to me.

This reminds me of a pre-university classmate's astute observation that some things are "good from far" but "far from good"!

My third example comes from last Sunday's church sermon:

So, if someone is still struggling in his faith, he has not rejected his fundamental beliefs. The term unbeliever, then, stands out in contrast as a precise word. But it is not immutable: an unbeliever may yet become a believer. And vice versa, of course.

I'll wrap up with this illustration below of how -- in the hands (voice cum inflection?) of a Singlish speaker, "can" becomes such a versatile word!...

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