“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”
–Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (1863)
That Lincoln guy, what a kidder! Well, I’m sure you know the old joke about lawyers.
Moving on. The universal saturation of yesterday’s United States Presidential Inauguration and the associated events is undeniable. Pervasive commentary by bloggers, mainstream media, and, oh, just about every information source imaginable permeated the general atmosphere; it was inescapable. The monumentalism and significance is undeniable and, like my blogging partner-in-crime CurlyWurlyGurly, I doubt there’s much of value that I could add to the general discourse.
However, I would like to take issue with the media and commenters themselves. That’s right, it’s another screed about English grammar and usage. My regular Reader(s) should be well familiar with my use of this topic as a handy crutch and dependable filler for pannaceaeae.
So many people, both those whose intelligence I respect as well as those who I am not so enamored of, described the day, the events, everything, as “historical” rather than “historic.” My completely unscientific and anecdotal rendering is that about seven out of eight (87.5%) misspoke.
Usage Note: Historic and historical have different usages, though their senses overlap. Historic refers to what is important in history: the historic first voyage to the moon. It is also used of what is famous or interesting because of its association with persons or events in history: a historic house. Historical refers to whatever existed in the past, whether regarded as important or not: a minor historical character. Historical also refers to anything concerned with history or the study of the past: a historical novel; historical discoveries. While these distinctions are useful, these words are often used interchangeably, as in historic times or historical times.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
I don’t feel the need to add anything else; the lexicogrphers pretty much covered it in a cut-and-dried fashion.