Would you say writing is more your forte?

I have a standing invitation to my friend’s place in case my layover becomes a stopover

November 21, 2022 10:30 am | Updated 10:30 am IST


KYE | Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Are your parents looking forward to their trip to the U.S.?”

“Yes, they are. But they’re also a bit nervous. It’s been a while since they went abroad.”

“Are they flying directly to New York?”

“No, they’re not. They have a layover in Paris.”

“That’s nice! How many days are they staying in Paris?”

“It’s not a stopover, but a layover. A ‘layover’ is when you spend a few hours at the airport waiting for your connecting flight. It usually happens in the middle of your journey.”

“I see. There’s no direct flight to Pune from here. We have a two-hour layover in Mumbai.”

“That’s a good example. Because of terrible weather, the four-hour layover in London became a twelve-hour one.”

“That’s terrible. Tell me, is it wrong to pronounce f..o..r..t..e like the word ‘fort’?”

“No, it isn’t. It’s one way of pronouncing the word.”

“One way? Then, what’s the other way?”

“Many people make it a two-syllable word. They pronounce the first syllable like the word ‘four’, and they make the final ‘te’ rhyme with the words ‘say’, ‘hay’ and ‘bay’. They pronounce the word ‘FOUR-tay’ with the stress on the first syllable. Do you know what ‘forte’ means?”

“Doesn’t it mean something that a person is good at? His strong point?”

“That’s right! When you say baking is Sunita’s forte, what you’re suggesting is that Sunita excels at baking. She knows a lot about it and is very good at it.”

“How about this example? I don’t know what Anil’s forte is, but it’s definitely not singing. The guy simply can’t carry a tune.”

“You’re absolutely right! I’ve heard Anil sing a couple of times, and he sounded awful. Here’s another example. According to my sister, public speaking is not my forte.”

“I agree with her completely. Writing tragedies is not your sister’s forte.”

“Her forte is writing comedies. She should try and…”

“Tell me, where did the word ‘forte’ come from?”

“It comes from the sport of fencing. The French word ‘fort’ meaning ‘strong point’ originally referred to the strongest part of a sword. Later, it took on a broader meaning.”

“It began to refer to the strong point of an individual!”

“I guess you could say that. How was dinner at Sujatha’s place yesterday? Did her mother make her famous potato curry?”

“Yes, she did. The curry was truly wonderful. Why didn’t you come? Didn’t Sujatha invite you for her father’s birthday?”

“I don’t need an invitation from Sujatha to go to her place. I have a standing invitation from her parents.”

“Standing invitation? Never heard that expression before.”

“It means the same thing as ‘open invitation’. When someone gives you a ‘standing invitation’, what it means is that you can go and visit them at any time.”

“In other words, you’re always welcome to their place.”

“That’s right! You’re welcome to my apartment any time. You have a standing invitation.”

“If you want to go to Coorg, let me know. I have an open invitation from a friend of mine. He owns a coffee plantation.”

“Maybe we should consider spending New Year’s Eve there.”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll let my friend know.”

Exploring the dark side of my characters’ personality is my forte.

-Vijay Deverakonda


Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.