This type of presumption drives me up the wall. How in the world do you
know when people lose interest? What, everyone else has an IQ of 70?
They need to hurry up to get to the end of a sentence? Give me break.
Not true. One of the links I posted to defines broken pediment as one
broken at its base. Have you interviewed all architects in the US to
find out what the most common usage is?
The pediment started off as a decorative motif over entrances. Since
the Renaissance, it's been used to decorate entrances, windows, doors,
chimneys, gable ends and a variety of other items. As a decorative
motif it has its reason for use, whether supported by actual formal
columns or not. The photo you posted was an attempt at that same
decoration, with the horizontal cornice broken (either for looks or
expediency). Hence broken pediment. Since I haven't interviewed every
carpenter in the US, I can't vouch for what term they would use, but
even so, given that the element in question has 2000 years (if not
more) of historical usage by others, I, as a design professional (who
ought to know a bit about what the pediment actually is and where it
came from), would prefer to continue to use the right term, given that
it's neither archaic, nor incorrect.
How do I know when people lose interest...? I thought I mentioned that
- it's when their eyes glaze over.
I love wood. I could go on all day about the different species, their
properties, historical usage, etc. Sometimes I do go on about it, and
this how I've learned to stop when the listener's eyes glaze over.
I did say that your terminology is "undoubtably correct", but that's
not the point. You're giving a history lesson and a lesson in building
terminology. Do you think this is what the OP is trying to achieve? I
don't think so. Seems to me he was looking for a simple handle for
that particular construction.
Using terms such as bottom cornice or broken pediment leaves some room
for interpretation. Isn't the point of communication clarity?
The thing that drives me up the wall is people that forsake clarity for
"correctness". The word whom, for example, should be abolished - it
serves no purpose. I do not use the word and do not particularly care
if it is not historically correct to do so.
'Gable end return' isn't clear either. To tell you the truth I'd never
heard of the phrase previously and was wondering what it was until I
saw your photo. If there hadn't been the photo, I would have asked:
what part is the gable end (top or bottom), what is returning and which
way, is it structural or decorative, how does it modify the roof line,
In addition, googling 'gable end return' brings up almost nothing that
is relevant. At least with 'base of broken pediment' I get something.
Or with the highly technical term 'broken-bed pediment', I'm even
If utmost clarity is desired then there is no simple phrase.
'Horizontal cornice or trim returns at the bottom of gable
ends/pediments' is the shortest and most clear.
Or, a new word can be coined. I propose 'xloxy'. Five letters, tough to
confuse with anything else and easy to remember.
Bad experiences in English class? Myself I find use for whom in
writing, particularly in complicated sentences. In speech, I agree it
doesn't come up often.
But if you think 'whom' is bad, you'd have a real hard time in German.
Oh, I'd forgotten that one - sorry but I can't resist <g>! The correct
useage would be:
"I do not care WHETHER it is historically corect..."
The "not" is superfluous and confusing, relating to nothing. The phrase
would be "Whether or not". Also, just to be a pain <g>, it's not a matter
of "historical" correctness so much as it's a matter of *grammatical*
I'd venture to guess, Marcello, that a difficulty with something so simple
as "whom" would make learning just about any additional language quite
wrote:>> This type of presumption drives me up the wall. How in the world do
I guess I'm not "people", because my eyes didn't glaze over...
Mine "wood"n't =:-D
How is "whom" unclear...? It's more clear than the usual gibberish that
passes for the common (in so many ways...) speech, that uses "the reason is
because" rather than the correct "the reason is that", and uses "less" when
the correct, and more clear, word would be "fewer", and generally muddies-
up meanings and clarity because of laziness and ignorance).
I'm an American, and I've seen the use of the English language degenerate
rapidly over the past 10 to 15 years. Now, I *know* my own English is not
exemplary, because I am largely self-taught (don't get me started on public
"schools" and too many so-called "teachers"). It's sickening, however, to
hear "respected" newscasters, and read "respected" newspapers, and hear
error after error, and one confusing so-called "sentence" after another.
I see a connection between incompetence in one's native language, with
incompetence in life's other endeavors. Note I do not say "well-paid" -
there are many well-paid incompetents in the nation today.
I'd have said it wasn't just the "technical" definition -- it's what a
gable *is*, in standard professional terminology.
(At least, I'm not familiar with any professional use of "gable" to
refer to anything other than the infilled triangle.)
Architectural and topographical historian
For those who are still interested, my audience is attorneys.
They don't - in my brief experience - know or care what term I use as
long as it's easy to say and reminds them of the area of the building.
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