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Wednesday, July 10, 1991

Knowing Your Onions

Published: Globe and Mail, Toronto [actual day unknown]

I cannot resist rising to the bait so skillfully deployed by John Allemang in his recent column An Accent on Change (Word Play -- July 7).
It is highly unlikely that he heard any phrase refering to "onions" in a French class. "Knowing one's onions" was of course bandied around quite frequently in the English class. The phrase refers to Dr. C. T. Onions, who was one of the major editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, serving in the early years of this century. So "knowing one's onions" was true proof of one's deft use of the English language.
Martin G. Evans, Toronto.

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