Reader Response: Foment versus ferment

I already shared the wide array of reader response I got for a recent A1 story I had for the Philadelphia Inquirer that covered the Harrisburg reform movement [There’s video for the story up now, too].

I got another call yesterday that I wanted to share.

A Maria called to compliment me on the story but she had one gripe that she “had to get off [her] chest.”

Note this passage from my story, regarding Eric Epstein, the coordinator of

Epstein doesn’t support himself with activism, but through investments, writing, lecturing and consulting.

“I do three things,” Epstein said. “Work, sleep and ferment revolution.”

The emphasis is added but the point is made.

Maria told me the word Epstein meant was foment, which means to agitate: try to stir up public opinion and that word would certainly be correct. She also said that ferment means to cause fermentation, the process by which wines are made. But, I have found, ferment and foment are actually synonyms, though that is probably because of misuse of the former.

Still, I went back to my recorded conversation with Epstein – which I would post if I could find any free audio host (if you know of one, tell me) – and found that, really, Maria was correct. Epstein said “foment,” but I misquoting him as having said “ferment.”

Image courtesy of Andy Budd.

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