Cole’s Miscellany (Part Five)

Didn’t We Almost Have It All

I came across a gem earlier that was a contender for my all-time favourite trivia. The story goes that the First World War did not formally end in full with the Treaty of Versailles because Andorra had inadvertently not been invited to the peace party.

Various websites state that, on this day in 1939 (or possibly 1958, the discrepancy of which rang alarm bells), Germany and Andorra signed a treaty to end “hostilities” that had been ongoing since Andorra had declared war in 1914. To add a further twist, there had never actually been any fighting between the two enemies despite their warring status.

Alas, extensive Google research has persuaded me that the whole thing is just a wonderful myth. If only wishing made it so.

Hands Off Of My Economy

An eagle-eared enthusiast captured my attention today with a theory. She posited that “of” is superfluous and grammatically incorrect when used in the phrase “off of”. I instinctively agreed and have only grown more convinced following research throughout the day.

My linguistic ambitions include both grammatical integrity and linguistic minimalism (believe it or not), so this would be a satisfying phrase to dismiss. Please can someone (Mrs H, perhaps) confirm the OED’s verdict?


PS I’ve had no further seizures (85 hours and counting) despite far too much laughter and excitement this weekend for a woman in my delicate condition!


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