Frindle Questions and Answers
by Andrew Clements

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In Frindle by Andrew Clements, how does a social studies lesson spark Nick’s new idea/plan?

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Nick’s idea to call a pen a frindle comes about as a result of Mrs. Granger assigning him a report on the history of the dictionary. They discuss how words come to have meaning, in essence, the fact that words are a common ground used to communicate ideas—the example in the book involves the word ‘dog,’ with the idea being that we call a dog a dog because the word ‘dog’ has a constant meaning that everyone is familiar with. (This plays into the debate with Mrs. Granger about whether or not the dictionary should be treated as law—should people conform their use of language to what the dictionary says is correct, or should the dictionary change to reflect the way people use language?) Nick also remembers a word he made up for ‘music player’ when he was younger, and he remembers that his parents could understand him.

As for what gives Nick the specific idea to create a new word for pen... his friend (Janet) finds a gold pen later that day, and it inspires Nick to continue thinking about words and their meaning. He combines these pieces of information to create the word frindle.

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