Do you always need to have the last word?

Here’s one fancy way to do just that: use an epiphonema!

What in the world is that?

So glad you asked!  According to, an epiphonema is, and I quote, “a sentence that is an exclamation, a general or striking comment, or a succinct summary of what has previously been said“.  In other word, it’s a fancy way to have the last word!

For an example, listen in to the following conversation:

Dan: I got my bike out yesterday, and it’s already at the bike shop.

Lise: What? How come?

Dan: Well, I cleaned it all up, tuned the brakes and the gears, checked and pumped up the tires. I figured I’d go for a ride before supper, but then my phone rang. So I left my bike there and went into the house. Came back out and what do you know? My son hit my bike with his car!

Lise: Oh no! Not for real!

Dan: Yup, the best laid plans of mice and men!  

Did you notice the epiphonema?

Exactly! The last comment: the best laid plans of mice of men – refers to English poet Robert Burn’s poem To A Mouse, where he writes:  

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/gang aft a-gley.

(Modern translation: The best prepared plans of a human often go wrong.)

Shall we try another example?

Anna: Hey, Laurence! I finally submitted my application for the Master’s program.

Laurence: At long last! Alia iecta est!

In this example, Laurence ends the conversation saying alia iecta est (meaning, the die is cast, or we’ll just have to see what happens), apparently said by Seutonius to Julius Caesar as they crossed the Rubicon River to begin battle against Pompey.

There you have it! Can you think of any epiphonemas you used lately, or heard someone else use?

Have a great day, and keep learning! (Wait! Was that an epiphonema?!)

  • Claire :o)    


The Irish Impact

Try the following quiz to see what you know about words, expressions and traditions that linger in our language and culture!

1.    Which of the following words means a crazy person?

a)   Bother

b)   Clock

c)   Bog

d)   Banshee

2.    When a child misbehaves constantly, what do we call him/her?

a)   A banshee

b)   A hooligan

c)   A brat

d)   A slob

3.    Which word is not of known Irish origin?

a)   Slew

b)   Galore

c)   Rushed

d)   Slob

4.    If your partner never cleans up their own mess or picks up their clothes, what would you call them?

a)   A slew

b)   A slob

c)   A phony

d)   A hooligan

5.    Which of the following is a typical Irish custom?

a)   Wiping your feet before coming into the house

b)   Drinking pop

c)   Going to the pub

d)   Singing in the shower

6.    Which of the following alcoholic beverages is typically Irish?

a)   Wine

b)   Porto

c)   Whiskey

d)   Beer

7.    Which of the following sports is an Irish contribution?

a)   Rugby

b)   Baseball

c)   Handball

d)   Basketball

8.    Which of the following accompaniments is typically Irish (supposedly!)?

a)   Mashed potatoes

b)   Beans

c)   Corn on the cob

d)   Rice

9.    Which of the following pastries is from Ireland?

a)   Scones

b)   Cupcakes

c)   Rice pudding

d)   Jello

10. Which of the following expressions denotes a movement to resist or refuse:

a)   Demonstration

b)   Sit-in

c)   Strike

d)   Boycott

Check out the following PowerPoint to check your answers!

Let me know how you did in the Comments section! Good luck!

Claire :O)