Anniversary outline: f-b-ish-s

Can anyone tell me what f-b-ish-s represents in Anniversary? I assume that because the “f” precedes a consonant, it must represent “for-,’ but a search in the dictionary under words beginning with “for-” did not lead to anything resembling this outline.
Here is the context (Junior O.G.A. Test, September 1944):
Dear Madeline, Now it can be told that I was in the thick of it at Salerno. Also that I shall receive a little “trinket” which will be sent to you for safe-keeping. I think I will enjoy wearing it on parade some day, and while relating my doughty deeds in this war–with a few F-B-ISH-S, naturally.

(by Bruce E. for group greggshorthand)

31 comments Add yours
  1. I've got that issue of the Gregg Writer. I had to look at it for a few minutes, but I think it's "furbishes". Kind of an old-fashioned word that most of us today wouldn't even think of. This kind of vocabulary trips me up from time to time. Even at age 60 nobody really used that word during my lifetime.

    Alex

  2. My old Webster's 7th defines furbish only as a verb, which would make it an even less likely choice in that context—the Gregg folks were usually quite astute on their grammar.

    But I can't think of any other possibility. It seems furbish remains in the lead. 🙂

  3. Verbs are often used this way . . . "I'll give it a polish", for instance, meaning "I'll polish it". Same with "furbish". "I'll give my story a nice furbish." Of course, Furbish is also the language spoken by the Furby, if any of you remember that particular creature.

  4. Although the word "refurbish" is in common use, I don't think it specifically implies polishing. The American Heritage Dictionary does, however, give a second definition for "furbish" that is identical to the usual definition of "refurbish," namely, "to make clean or fresh, renovate."

    "Furbish" is not labeled as either obsolete or archaic in either of the dictionaries I've consulted. It may simply be unfamiliar to me.

  5. No, the dash appears in the printed shorthand where I placed it in my transcription, between "in this war" and "with a few."

    The tales of the writer's valiant deeds are what will be furbished, not the "trinket."

    In an informal, personal communication of this sort we may expect the writer to take some liberties that we would not expect to encounter in more formal writing. I think that the unidentified writer who likened his use of "furbishes" to the use of "polish" in the sentence, "I'll give it a polish," was correct. The writer's deeds will be made more respendent in the telling. "Furbishings" would be a better word for him to have used than "furbishes."

  6. Eek! The last paragragh of my previous posting is not clear.

    …I think that the unidentified forum participant who likented this writer's use of "furbishes" to the use of "polish" in the sentence, "I'll give it a polish," was correct. The writer was saying that his deeds would be made more resplendent in the telling…

  7. I think I got it! The problem is that in the transcription, the paragraph is not punctuated correctly. That's what was throwing me off. Are you sure there is a dash between "war" and "with a few"? That is the problem. The paragraph should read:

    'Dear Madeline: Now it can be told that I was in the thick of it at Salerno. Also, that I shall receive a little "trinket" which will be sent to you for safe-keeping. I think I will enjoy wearing it on parade some day, and while relating my doughty deeds in this war with a few, furbishes naturally.'

    The trinket is the thing that furbishes naturally! It makes perfect sense. So "furbishes" is used in the paragraph as a verb, as it should.

    I was waiting to return home to check the actual passage, but I think now this is the correct interpretation. It's the only one that makes sense.

  8. It doesn't make sense that the deeds will be furbished, because he didn't say "furbish", but "furbishes." Plus the subject of the sentence is the trinket, not the deeds of war. Why would all of a sudden he will talk about the deeds? That's why the dash is there, to separate the idea — although the dash is in the wrong place, IMO. He is relating his deeds with a few, and while doing that, the trinket furbishes naturally. That to me makes more sense than the way it's in the transcript. I have to see the original though. Maybe it's a mistake.

    Anyway, it's an interesting paragraph. I'll see if I can find a transcript when I get back.

  9. McBud: The sentence is, "I think I will enjoy wearing it on parade some day, and while relating my doughty deeds in this war—with a few furbishes naturally.'

    I wish I could diagram it here; but I can't draw lines.

    The subject of the main clause is "I." The verb is "think." Its object is the substantive clause, "that I'll enjoy wearing on parade some day and while relating my doughty deeds in this war–with a few furbishes, naturally."

    "I" is the subject of this substantive clause. "(shall) enjoy" is the verb. "Wearing" is a gerund that serves as the object of "shall enjoy," but takes its own object, "it." ("It" refers to the trinket mentioned in the previous sentence).

    "On parade" is an adverbial prepositional phrase that modifies "shall enjoy."

    "Day" is an adverbial objective, that is, a noun used as an adverb, which modifies "shall enjoy." "One" is an adjective that modifies "Day"

    "While relating my doughty deeds in this war" is an elliptic adverbial clause that modifies the verb, "shall enjoy." (The omitted words are "I am." The full form of the clause would be, "While I am relating my doughty deeds in this war.")

    "With a few furbishes" is prepositional phrase. Because "with" is a preposition, and can never be anything else, it must have an object, which must always be a noun or pronoun. We must conclude, therefore, that "furbishes" is being used as a noun here, even though dictionaries do not authorize its use as such.

    Here's the unresolved issue. While I think that "with a few furbishes" modifies "relating," the presence of the dash raises the possibility that this phrase could modify "it" (the object of "wearing"). In other words, the writer could mean that he would enjoy relating his dougthy deeds with a few furbishes [i.e., making them more impressive than they were], or that he would enjoy wearing it (i.e., the trinket) with a few furbishes [i.e., polished].

    We can, of course, forgive ambiguity in a serviceman's letter to his girlfriend, but the writer could have made his meaning clear by writing either, "I think that I'll enjoy wearing it on parade some day–with a few furbishes [i.e.,polished], naturally, –and while relating my doughty deeds in the war," or ""I think that I'll enjoy wearing it on parade some day, while relating–with a few furbishes, naturally–my doughty deeds in the war."

    I am, in any case, satisfied that the outline I initially had trouble deciphering represents "furbishes."

  10. With apologies to Marc for the nightmares:

    The last sentence appears to be a parallel construction:

    I think I will enjoy wearing it
    [while I am] on parade some day,
    and
    while [I am] relating [the story of] my doughty deeds in this war
    –with a few furbishes, naturally.

    It seems unlikely he would be relating his deeds while on parade.

    The dash introduces a parenthetical comment, which usually goes with whatever immediately precedes it. Also, if he meant literal polishing of the medal, 'furbish' used as a verb would be more natural.

    Thus, he is most likely furbishing his story– to make his deeds sound more impressive, to make the story more entertaining, or for whatever other reason it might need a few improvements.

    A badly constructed sentence? The whole paragraph sounds pretty stilted.

  11. OK, I found the transcript. It's on Business Education World, Volume 25, page 56 (1945). It is as it reads, with the word being "furbishes". Here's a partial transcript:

    Four Stars on His Ribbon

    Dear Madeline:

    Now it can be told that I was in the thick of it at Salerno. Also that I shall receive a little "trinket," which will be sent to you for safekeeping. I think I'll enjoy wearing it on parade someday and while relating my doughty deeds in this war — with a few furbishes, naturally!

    Sending these medals home is a good idea — we have enough metal to polish when the brass hats come through without adding them. I have four stars coming to me now … etc.

    Congrats, Bruce. You were right!

  12. I'm trying to upload a PDF scan of this page so we can avoid the "I don't have the document, but here's what I think it is" kind of discussion. But I keep getting a message that "the file you are trying to upload is invalid". Is there a trick to doing this?

    Alex

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