Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

A (very frustrating) stroll through CVS

February 24, 2011

I don’t think I need to say much here.  But I’ll just add a couple of quotes from the dictionary and a grammar book. ‘Nuff said.

 

Exhibit A:

Definition of DO-RAG: a kerchief worn especially to cover the hair

(source: M-W.com)

EXHIBIT B:

The apostrophe has three uses:

  1. to form possessives of nouns

  2. to show the omission of letters

  3. to indicate certain plurals of lowercase letters

(and, therefore, “yours”–along with his, hers, and its, does NOT take an apostrophe!)

source: Purdue OWL: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/

 

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

February 20, 2011

http://leftaction.com/action/dear-tea-party-use-spell-check

What the writer of this failed to note is that, sadly, logic and sense are rarely required to be persuasive.  Just think of bumper stickers.  I love bumper stickers, but let’s face it.  All you really need is a catch phrase.  It doesn’t have to be spelled right, it doesn’t have to be true, it doesn’t have to make sense.

Slogans just really need to be memorable and to make some sort of sense to enough people that they start spreading them.  Calling someone a fascist or a socialist requires absolutely no evidence, as long as the speaker has enough of an audience to spread the word.  Most Americans don’t even know what socialism and fascism really are, they just know (or think) that these words are the enemy of democracy and to be accused of such beliefs is almost as bad as not putting a “support the troops” sticker on your car.

If we all thought that reliability and truth were achieved through spell check, there would be no Kash-n-Karry grocery stores, Froot Loops, or Jell-o in America.

So when you want to persuade people, don’t rely on intellect and reason. After all, intellectual, reasonable people are these days equated with elitism and snobbery.  And nobody wants that.

 

Really? Guess you get what you pay for.

November 26, 2010

Old Navy had some great $5 doorbuster deals today.  My kids love the slogan T’s that are all the rage today, so I thought I’d check them out.  Then I saw this:

Really?  “Me and Santa?”  2 problems with this: 1, the other party always goes first–it’s only polite; 2, it’s not “me,” it’s “I.”  Trying to sound like a kid might sound for the sake of a cute t shirt is not just bad grammar, it is, as my tween would say, lame (not sure why it would have a sore leg, but okay).

In honor of Black Friday, a shopping list for the word fans on your list.

November 25, 2010

Do you have a friend or relative who loves to correct your grammar?  Or perhaps a favorite librarian at your neighborhood branch.  Maybe you’re in school and are barely scraping by with a C- in English and just want to make sure you don’t end up with a D for the semester so you want to butter up the teacher with a gift.  In any case, these gifts are ones I’ve seen and loved and thought I would share:

1) Lighted Reading Glasses

Yes, I’m serious.  I cannot sleep at night if I don’t read a bit first, and I know many book lovers feel the same.  Many book lovers’ significant others, however, hate trying to go to sleep with a light on. These glasses should solve the problem!

2) Funny t-shirt.  In grad school I got a sweatshirt that said “Free the Bound Periodicals!” Librarians and others who have spent hour upon hour combing through the bound periodicals will get it.  I still have that sweatshirt.  Here’s another good one:

3) an iPod. Or if you have some bucks, an iPad.  Yep, I mean it.  The obvious suggestion would have been a Kindle or a Nook.  And as great as they are, I love to download audiobooks from my library and listen to them while I exercise.  If you’re on a tight budget and your gift recipient has an iPod already, why not an iTunes gift card?

4) Chocolate Scrabble game.  Oh, the regular version will do, too, but who can resist one that has the letter pieces made of chocolate?  True word fans know that Scrabble isn’t really about the words–it’s about points, and the word “Za” can net you 33 points or more (especially if you spell it two ways), but word lovers everywhere seem to love this game all the same.

5)  Bookends. We readers use our bookshelves for, well, BOOKS! HGTV would have us all clearing out our bookshelves and placing just a few expensive objets d’art  on them.  But I have books 2 deep on every shelf.  An art piece I can find useful would be great, and bookends come in an endless (hee hee) supply of designs. Here’s a whimsical one that would look cute in a child’s room:

 

Have a great holiday season and to all those out shopping on Black Friday, good luck! No shopping for me–I’m spending the day putting up Christmas decorations and watching Christmas movies.  Might as well get the kids all whipped up into a lather over the holidays right now, right?

Some things don’t even need discussing.

November 15, 2010

Can you see the pictures? The bottom image shows a shopping mall marquee in the family oriented Citrus Park/Carrollwood area in Tampa, Florida. The top  image just shows the names of the anchor stores.  Notice the very bottom two.

Nice.

Let’s just let sleeping dogs lie. Or lay. Wait….I need to lie down (lay down?)

November 5, 2010

I have insomnia, so I’m returning to this draft.

Lay is a transitive verb.  It means to put something down, or, if you are a chicken, to bring forth an egg.  You lay your body down (it’s “now I lay me down to sleep” not “now I lie me down to sleep”).

But when we just simply go to bed–we don’t actually put ourselves to sleep, we lie down.  We lay our babies down in their cribs at night (picture me…mommy…putting baby into bed).

Transitive verbs are incomplete without an object (now I lay the baby down to sleep).  If you don’t have “the baby” in this sentence it’s just “I lay.”  Totally different meaning.

You can’t lie a baby down.  You just can’t. It’s an intransitive verb.

OK, if the grammar talk it getting to you, just remember. If you are putting something down, you lay it. If you are just taking up an action, you lie.

PG-13 remark:

It’s called “get laid” for a reason, people.

My friend, the hyphen

October 28, 2010

I can’t say I’ve ever thought all that much about the hyphen.  Sure, I’ve got a hyphenated last name (what a mess THAT is!), and I generally know when to use them, but until I got a facebook message asking me about a specific use of the hyphen,  realized just how confusing the darn thing can be!  Here’s the question:

My great great grandmother was born in Italy. Do you cap any of the G’s?? Hyphen any where??? Same with great grandmother. . . [and what about] Step-Great-Grandfather, Anthony – is this correct?

The general rule for usage is to hyphenate greats.  And capitalization is for proper names, not generics. So, the answers would be:

great-great-grandmother

great-grandmother

step-great-grandfather Anthony

It’s complex, but keep in mind that most grammar and usage rules exist to create clarity.  If you said “my great great-grandmother” a listener might think you were bragging on great-grandmother Lucy, rather than referring to her mother, your great great-great-grandmother.

Which brings to mind a recent joke I heard, which seems to have gone viral and may be an urban myth.  In this story, a nurse looks at a newborn baby’s chart and comments on the unusual name, La-a.  She asks the mother how to pronounce the name, and the mom looks at her like she’s an idiot and says, “It’s LaDASHa–the dash ain’t silent!”

Me being me, I immediately had to wonder: what kind of dash was it? An em dash? An en dash? Or was it, secretly, a hyphen aspiring to dashhood?