“As a former film student, I hold an extremely high level of respect and admiration for Ebert’s accolades and I can only dream of replicating the amount of success he achieved.”

A reader says: “An accolade is praise. So the writer is saying he has respect and admiration for the praise Ebert received.” Or perhaps the praise Ebert gave. It’s a close call whether accolades fits in this quotation, but I suspect the former film student had some other word, like accomplishments, in mind.

Random House says an accolade is “any award, honor or laudatory notice”: The play received accolades from the press.” I didn’t know that an accolade could also be “a light touch on the shoulder with the flat side of the sword or formerly by an embrace, done in the ceremony of conferring knighthood.”

Coincidentally, I was just thinking that it’s about time knighthood was conferred on a language columnist from the southwestern United States. I’m prepared to accept an honest draft. I’ve heard there’s a regulation that one must be British to be knighted, but surely Elizabeth could get around that. She’s the queen, isn’t she? Don’t let yourself be pushed around by pettifogging dukes and earls, your majesty. Your great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather knew how to deal with that sort.


Some might argue that Bryan A. Garner, of Garner’s Modern American Usage, is more deserving than I. Most everybody would argue that, in fact, and they have a point; he’s widely regarded as the foremost authority in the field. But he’s also a Texan, and that’s the one kind of American that is totally unacceptable to the queen, who has described Texans as “tacky.” She also remembers Churchill’s words about resisting Texans in the U.K.: “We shall fight in the streets, etc.” Inspiring, still.

It’s true that Sir Douglas of the Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About a Mover”) was Texan. The queen has explained this was a mistake. A big fan of “The Land That Time Forgot,” she thought she was knighting Doug McClure.