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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Partly Which

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between partly sunny and partly cloudy? Don’t they mean the same thing? Well, yes and no. It can depend on the time of day or the mood of the forecaster.

During daylight hours it’s like to-may-toe or to-maa-toe; take your pick. But at night it only makes sense to say partly cloudy because partly sunny would mean it’s not dark. Yet for daylight hours, the forecasters use one or the other. What determines which for individual meteorologists? I have a theory.

Saying partly sunny puts the emphasis on the sun. Saying partly cloudy puts the emphasis on clouds. (I didn’t go to college for nothing.) Sunshine, brightness, and radiance are associated with positivity and optimism. Cloudiness, dimness, and turbidity portend gloom and characterize pessimism. While I’m not proposing that every weatherperson who uses one or the other is necessarily optimistic or pessimistic, my theory holds water that it could indicate a leaning toward one or the other.

The more important recognition has to do with the language one uses and the attitude one communicates in our relationships with one anther. Who enjoys being around people who regularly approach most things with negative words and attitudes? I would guess not many. Who enjoys being around people who regularly approach most things with positive words and attitudes? I would guess that most do.

My own desire is to be that partly sunny (or totally sunny) person who radiates optimism and cheerfulness. Even though there are times I slip into the pessimistic, gloomy mode, that is not the man I want to be. So I need to consistently checkup and work on my attitude and words so that I communicate sunshine instead of glumness.

By the way, as I write this and look out the window, it’s partly sunny.

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