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Nancy, a reader at the book club, writes:
"Suzanne, I enjoy your column every day and look forward to it in order to get my day going! In one of your most recent columns, you mentioned raising children, which is not what I learned growing up. I learned children were reared and animals were raised. If you can shed any light on this difference it would be interesting to read it. Thank you for your daily columns..."--Nancy, Roswell, GA
(Suzanne replies:) Nancy, I appreciate you writing. The first response I typed to you, after reading your email, was that you were correct. I too, was reared, not raised. Wow, that sentence sounds a bit strange, doesn't it? Which may be why, after consulting Webster's Dictionary and the English Oxford Dictionary, they both agree that in this day and age, it's okay to raise both animals and children. Just not in the same way. (That last sentence is an assumption on my part--and meant to be amusing.) But to confuse you and me even more, when I looked up 'rear' in the dictionary (besides talking about our hinnies), yes indeed, you can still rear a child and the word 'rear' is used, per the dictionary, "to breed and raise livestock."
To me, 'reared' sounds like a stern, unfriendly word, perhaps that's why we (people in general) have relaxed the word to 'raise.' We raise plants, they look beautiful, we raise vegetables they taste great, you raise kids and (hopefully) they turn out delightful.
Yes, the times they are a changin' Nancy, and not just with the correct usage of 'raising' or 'rearing' children. Your email reminded me of a word that I've used for years. People often give me a strange look when I use the word 'boughten,' so I looked it up, too.
Even though 'boughten' is grammatically correct to say--like 'reared'--because the word is so out of fashion, not many people use it anymore. So it sounds strange when they do and here's the reason why. The dictionary only presents "Historical Examples" of the word:
Boughten [bawt-n] Store-bought
Origin of boughten 1785-1795
Adjective, Northern and North Midland U.S. Nonstandard.
"Half a dozen straight-back chairs, also 'boughten,' were disposed stiffly against the walls."
So that's the story Nancy. You reared your children, I've boughten my children many things over the years, and now, we've both outlived definitions in the dictionary. Seems like we should get an award for that, doesn't it?
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
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THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE by Lynda Cohen-Loigman
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