S: Tom Said (Reader Comments and Addenda): comments

Jim had sent me some more of his Swifties that I forgot to include in the column:

  • "I've changed my mind; I'm not on either team," Tom decided.
  • "I got the lead in a Shakespeare play," Tom said lyrically.
  • "You'll be staying with us?" Tom guessed.
  • "Dorothy's aunt sure has put on weight," Tom said emphatically.
  • "I'll have to prop up my canvas against a chair," Tom said uneasily.
  • "They've raised the Prime Rate," said Tom with growing interest.
  • "I played phone tag with her for a week," Tom recalled.

Danny Fahs provides the most plausible explanation I've heard yet of the "Tom Swifty" name:

While the Tom Swift books do not contain puns of this sort, if you read them you will find that only rarely does anyone simply "say" something. Instead, they say things angrily, dejectedly, with enthusiasm, and so forth. Certain wags began parodying this overuse of adverbs, and thus the "Tom Swifty" was born.

And of course he adds a few of his own:

  • "My bike's wheel is damaged!" Tom spoke out.
  • "I bought Boardwalk early in the game," Tom said, monopolizing the conversation.
  • "I can't play the guitar," Tom fretted.

(Last updated: 11 November 1997)

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