History

Some famous people’s takes on history:

Henry Ford: History is bunk.

Napoleon: History is a set of lies agreed upon.

Tolstoy: History is nothing but a collection of fables and useless trifles, cluttered up with a mass of unnecessary figures and proper names.

Tolstoy again: History would be a wonderful thing — if it were only true.

Clarence Darrow: History repeats itself; that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.

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I Hope You Laugh, Too. And I Hope I Don’t Get Thrown Off FB.

The Washington Post‘s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.Here are the winners: 

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high. 

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafhalon (n): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn when you discover half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

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Crazy English

From various anonymous sources. I can relate:

The fact that Kansas and Arkansas are pronounced differently bothers me a lot more than it should.

Pronoucing words that end in ough makes me wonder how anyone learns to read English: cough, tough, dough, through and though.

Which is silent, the S or the C in scene?

Why does fridge have a D in it but refrigerator doesn’t?

Why are Zoey and Zoe pronounced the same but Joey and Joe aren’t?

You can drink a drink but you can’t food a food.

The word queue is just a Q followed by four silent letters.

Why is w called a double u when it’s obviously a double v?

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Order in the Court

One chunk of words that annoys me is in order to:

Stella arranged the seats in order to give everyone a good view of the screen. In order to do this, she asked a student to help her.

It’s verbose. Just use to. It doesn’t change the meaning one bit.

Court is adjourned. Thank you.

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Definition of Television

I have a little book, The Portable Curmudgeon, edited by Jon Winokur. Under various topics are quotations from critics old and new, dead and alive, from all walks of life. Although much of television programming is wonderful (I just rewatched Ken Burns’ “Baseball” and “The Roosevelts”), garbage still abounds.

Here’s what David Frost had to say about the medium:

“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.”

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Yogi Berra-isms

Yogi Berra, Yankee catcher, was notable for his baseball talent as well as for his use of the English language. The words are definitely English, but somehow the logic went astray. Here are a few of his proclamations:

1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

2. You can observe a lot by just watching.

3. It ain’t over till it’s over.

4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

6. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

7. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

8. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

9. We made too many wrong mistakes.

10. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

11. You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

12. You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.

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Another: Can You Think of Any Others?

“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt.”

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Can You Think of Any Others?

There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

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Perhaps You’re a Poet

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

But perhaps you can think of a rhyme for one or more of them. Purple, burple?

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To Rest Your Tired Typing Hands

If your hands get tired from all the typing you’re doing, you can give them a temporary rest: If your right hand is tired, know that stewardesses is the longest word you can type with your left hand. And to give that hand a rest, lollipop is the longest word you can type with just your right hand.

Don’t tell me this blog isn’t helpful!

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Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!

So many people think “I” is a classier pronoun than “me.” It isn’t. Both are equally weighted in the World of Pronouns. If you have used a preposition, you need to follow it with an object pronoun, which is what “me” is.

You wouldn’t say or write, “Janie sent an email to I,” would you? See that “to”? It’s a preposition, and therefore needs to be followed by an object pronoun: She sent the email to ME.

“Between” is also a preposition. I cringe when I see or hear “Between you and I.” Again, it’s ME. Here’s a list of some other common prepositions: for, from, above, under, below, beneath, underneath, near, next to, along, about, down, up, across….You see they indicate location or direction.

Here are other object pronouns: Her, him, us, them. Whenever you use a preposition, you’ll need one of these pronouns. Don’t say or write, “Between Bob and he.” It’s “Between Bob and him.” 

If you use “I” or another subject pronoun, such as she, he, we, they, people are going to shudder. You don’t want that to happen. Use your object pronouns proudly.

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Misheard Song Lyrics

When people hear words incorrectly, whether in a song or elsewhere, those words have come to be known as mondegreens. Yes, mondegreens, from the child whose mother used to read her British poetry and who misunderstood the line from the Scottish poem “Barbara Allen”: “They have slain the Earl Amurray/ And laid him on the green.” Not only did the child, Sylvia Wright, think the Lord of Murray was laid on the green but also Lady Mondegreen. Makes sense to me. In 1954, Ms. Wright wrote an article in Harper’s explaining her error and coining the word mondegreen. It stuck.

Sometimes mondegreens arise because singers don’t always enunciate clearly. People hear what is familiar to them. See for yourselves:

Misheard: Alex the seal Correct: Our lips are sealed (The Go-Go’s)

Misheard: Like a virgin, touched for the thirty-first time Correct: … touched for the very first time (Madonna)

Misheard: The girl with colitis goes by Correct: The girl with kaleidoscope eyes (Beatles)

Misheard: There’s a bathroom on the right. Correct: There’s a bad moon on the rise (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Misheard: I got my first real sex dream Correct: I got my first real six-string (Bryon Adams)

Misheard: It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not Correct: It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not (Bon Jovi)

Misheard: A year has passed since I broke my nose Correct: A year has passed since I wrote my note (The Police)

Are you the inventor of any mondegreens? I am. As a child I misheard the words from “Cross Over the Bridge,” (Patti Page) “Leave your fickle past behind you,” as “Leave your pickle pats behind you.” I’m still trying to figure out what I thought pickle pats were.

Write and tell me what you’ve misheard.

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Why? Why? Why?

Why are people unable to control themselve’s when they see a word ending in S and dig into their bulging, bottomless sack of apostrophe’s and throw them about with gay abandon? Do you see what I mean? I’m hoping you cringed at those two errors I deliberately wrote.

How about

• Those yard signs telling you the Anderson’s live there?

• Those grocery store signs advertising carrot’s? (The Brits actually call those “grocers’ apostrophes.”)

• Otherwise intelligent people with advanced degrees writing about the Nobel’s and the Pulitzer’s?

Many, many words ending in S are merely plural. No ownership is involved. Before you throw in an apostrophe, look to see if there is an owner. If not, zip up that bag. Please.

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Order in the Court

HOW DO COURT RECORDERS KEEP STRAIGHT FACES?

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters’ wholesale testimony; they had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?

WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’

ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?

WITNESS: My name is Susan!

_______________________________

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?

WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?

WITNESS: July 18th.

ATTORNEY: What year?

WITNESS: Every year.

_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?

WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.

ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?

WITNESS: Forty-five years.

_________________________________

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?

WITNESS: I forget..

ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

___________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

____________________________________

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.

___________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

_________________________________________

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

WITNESS: Getting laid

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?

WITNESS: None.

ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS: By death..

ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

WITNESS: Take a guess.

___________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard

ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.

_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?

WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?

WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

_________________________________________

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

WITNESS: Oral…

_________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM

ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?

WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

______________________________________

And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?

WITNESS: No..

ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

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Shakespeare’s Oxymorons

I recently listed common oxymorons, e.g., now then, jumbo shrimp, original replica. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote the following:

O heavy lightness, serious vanity

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.”

Poor Romeo.

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HowDo You Pronounce…?

Depending on where you or your parents grew up will determine, to a large extent, how you pronounce the following words. I learned to speak in suburban New York City; my parents grew up in the city.

CRAYON

I say CRAY on, the most common pronunciation on the East Coast.

Mainers prefer CRAY awn.

Midwesterners give it just one syllable: CRAN.

CARAMEL

I go for all three syllables. That’s the East Coast way. But in the Midwest and West, CAR mel prevails.

LAWYER

Most people say LOY er, but in the Southeast, they consult LAW yers.

MAYONNAISE

In the West and Central Northwest-ish (think the Dakotas, Minnesota), they spread MAN aze on their sandwiches. But East Coasters use all three syllables: MAY uh naze.

A GROUP OF PEOPLE

If you’re from the South, it’s Y’all. (The plural, obviously, is ALL y’all.) The rest of the United States refers to YOU guys, whether male or female.

Do these pronunciations fit with where you grew up?

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Oxymorons

In addition to:

Giant shrimp

Military intelligence

Found missing

Adult children

Definite maybe

Plastic glasses

Pretty ugly

Now then

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Are You Guilty?

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April 12, 2021 · 2:17 PM

Words to Live By

An unattributed quotation I recently read:

“Reading can seriously damage your ignorance.”

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Have You Ever Seen a Palimpsest?

You’re looking at a palimpsest.

Although it’s not a word one hears or reads every day (it’s more like twice a year), I love the sound of the word “palimpsest.” It refers to a manuscript (literally, something written by hand) that has been written over with a new text.

A thousand and more years ago when monks wrote on parchment, it was difficult and laborious to prepare the animal skins, and they often ran out. The monks then had to use a piece of parchment again. They would either write between the existing lines or turn the parchment at right angles from the original and write the new text directly over the old. The sad part is that so many times the original text became undecipherable and lost to history. But I still love the sound of the word.

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More Paraprosdokians

  1. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.
  2. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  3. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure
  4. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  5. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  6. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find someone older than me .

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Remember Paraprosdokians?

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous. Here is a batch of them; more to follow. Feel free to groan.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you…but it’s still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up — we only learn how to act in public.
6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
7. Knowledge, is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
9. I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
10 In filling out an application, where it says “In case of an emergency, notify…” I answered, “a doctor.

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My Favorite Book on English

I originally wrote this post three years and one day ago. This book was then and still is my favorite on writing. O’Conner has a wicked sense of humor and is an adept and uncomplicated writer. The best of the best. Available in paperback. (I have no vested interest in the book.)

Patricia O’Conner has done it again: she has updated and revised her classic book on writing and English usage, Woe Is I. I can hardly tell you how much I love this book. Before you stop reading, let me tell you that you will laugh out loud on just about every page. OK, read on. O’Conner realizes how all languages change over time, which is why she revised this classic book to fit with current and accepted usage. This is the fourth edition and, as English changes, there will be a fifth and a sixth and a twentieth.

O’Conner writes in everyday English. Here are a few chapter titles:

PLURALS BEFORE SWINE  Blunders with Numbers

YOURS TRULY  The Possessive and the Possessed

COMMA SUTRA  The Joy of Punctuation

DEATH SENTENCE   Do Clichés Deserve to Die?

THE LIVING DEAD    Let Bygone Rules Be Gone

Here’s an explanation about subject-verb agreement: “A substance was stuck to Sam’s shoe.”  Or  “A green, slimy, and foul-smelling substance was stuck to Sam’s shoe.” O’Conner adds, “The subject is substance and it stays singular no matter how many disgusting adjectives you pile on.”

See? Not your typical book about English and writing. This one is Wonderful. Entertaining. Fun. Comprehensible. Helpful. Essential.

O’Conner also has a blog to which she posts almost every day, giving explanations about questions people (including me) have submitted. If you subscribe, you’ll get it in your inbox. It’s definitely not boring! http://www.grammarphobia.com

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Shakespeare’s Pencil

I have a a pencil owned by William Shakespeare. However, he chewed on it, and now I can’t tell if it’s 2B or not 2B.

—Anonymous

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More Crazy English

From my English-American friend Nicki:

Why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers 
don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of 
tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? 
One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two 
indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends 
but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends 
and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call 
it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian 
eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes 
I think all English speakers should be committed to 
an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do 
people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by 
truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and 
feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise 
man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at 
the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can 
burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by 
filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going 
on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the 
creativity of the human race, which is not a 
race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they 
are visible, but when the lights are out, they are 
invisible.

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You Think English is Easy?

From my English-American friend, Nicki

These examples are called homographs, words spelled the same but pronounced differently and having different meanings.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object..

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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Words You Might Not Have Known a Year Ago

An article in today’s Los Angeles Times got my attention. It highlighted many words and phrases that are commonplace today but only one year ago we might well have been stymied by some.

Social distancing today is easily understood as keeping six feet apart from others and not sharing food or drink. But last December? Who knew? I remember Dr. Anthony Fauci urging us to take steps to flatten the curve, but he had to demonstrate what that term meant. PPE? We had no clue a year ago. And Zoom! I Zoom, you Zoom, everyone Zooms. Zoom has altered the workplace and likely will be around until something shinier comes to take its place. You’re muted is a common sentence heard when on Zoom.

Covid fatigue has been blamed for people taking fewer precautions to safeguard their health. Covid itself is variously written as Covid-19 or COVID-19, depending on the news source. The World Health Organization prefers the latter form and explains that it stands for COronaVIrusDisease-2019, the year it first reared its terrifying head. (People who flagrantly flaut warnings are often labeled covidiots.) Not only peas but humans have pods, safe people they can interact with at home. Pods are called bubbles in the UK. Addicted to finding the most recent political or medical news? You’re doomscrolling; that’s been around for two years, but now is commonplace.

Recently, more than 300 members of the American Dialect Society got together to choose their Word of the Year. Any guesses? Yep, it’s Covid.

Stay safe!

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Beside or Besides?

When you’re angry or frustrated, are you beside yourself or besides yourself? Here’s the difference:

BESIDES means in addition to.
Besides me, only three people showed up at the meeting.

BESIDE means next to, alongside.
At the meeting, I sat beside a woman I had never met before.

The expression beside myself (with frustration, for example) strikes me as odd. Obviously, it’s idiomatic; you can’t physically get next to yourself, no matter how hard you try. But if you are sufficiently frustrated, you might feel as if you have been torn into two people. I’m just guessing here.

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Think About It

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

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Every Day or Everyday?

The mixup of these words yanks my chain. It’s a common mistake in print advertising, but I also see it very often in personal contexts. Here’s a simple explanation of the difference between them:

I brush my teeth at least twice every day.

In this sentence, every is an adjective modifying day. When do I brush my teeth? Every day.

For me, brushing my teeth is an everyday occurrence. Here, everyday is an adjective telling what kind of an occurrence my toothbrushing routine is.

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A Powerful Word

Look what “only” can do:

SHE TOLD HIM THAT SHE LOVED HIM.

Only she told him that she loved him. (No one else did.)

She only told him that she loved him. (But she didn’t show him she did.)

She told only him that she loved him. (She didn’t tell that to anyone else.)

She told him only that she loved him. (She didn’t tell him anything else.)

She told him that only she loved him. (No one else loves him.)

She told him that she only loved him. (But she didn’t like or admire him.)

She told him that she loved only him. (She loves no one else.)

She told him that she loved him only. (Again, she loves no one else.)

ONLY is a modifier. That means it gives information about another part of the sentence. Modifiers may be one word or a group of words. They should be placed right next to the word you want to change. If you put modifiers in the wrong place, you are creating, yes, misplaced modifiers. At times that will lead to embarrassing or awkward situations like these:

Be certain to buy enough yarn to finish your mittens before you start.

Wearing a red nose and a floppy hat,we laughed at the clown.

For sale: mixing bowl set for chef with round bottom for efficient beating.

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Church Ladies With Typewriters

Here are some laughs for the day. Allegedly, these were written before computers and spellcheck.


The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.  

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 

The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’  The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’ 

Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale.  It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.

Don’t let worry kill you off — let the Church help.  

Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.  

Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir.  They need all the help they can get. 

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow. 

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’  Come early and listen to our choir practice. 

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Questions to Ponder

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November 3, 2020 · 1:50 PM

A Few Smiles to Calm Your Nerves

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

 England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. 

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes. 

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore. 

I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time. 

I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. 

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Oxymorons

found missing

open secret

small crowd

act naturally

clearly misunderstood

fully empty

pretty ugly

seriously funny

only choice

original copies

exact estimate

tragic comedy

original replica

foolish wisdom

liquid gas

social distancing

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It’s a Fact

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October 25, 2020 · 4:14 PM

It’s a Fact

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October 25, 2020 · 4:11 PM

Deep Thoughts

Maybe Rodin’s “Thinker” knows.

Ever wonder why the word funeral starts with FUN?  
  
How come lipstick doesn’t do what it says?  
  
If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?  
  
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?  
  
How do you get off a non-stop flight?  
  
Why are goods sent by ship called CARGO and those sent by truck a SHIPMENT?  
  
Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the cupboard?  
  
Why do doctors “practice” medicine? Are they having practice at the cost of the patients?  
  
Why is it called rush hour when traffic moves at its slowest then?  
  
Why do noses run and feet smell?  
  
Why do they call it a TV set when there is only one?  
  
What are you vacating when you go on a vacation?  
  
Did you know that if you replace W with T in What, Where and When, you get the answer to each of them?

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An English 101 Cheat Sheet

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.


• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.


• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.


• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.


• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”


• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.


• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.


• A question mark walks into a bar?


• A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.


• Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”


• A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.


• A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.


• Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.


• A synonym strolls into a tavern.


• At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.


• A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.


• Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.


• A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.


• An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.


• The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.


• A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.


• The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.


• A dyslexic walks into a bra.


• A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.


• A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.


• A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Writing Advice

I wish I knew how to change this link to text, but a click from you should do it. If you can’t click on it, copy and paste. It’s worth it.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbusiness/ruth-bader-ginsburg-taught-a-law-clerk-the-secret-to-strong-writing/ar-BB19B96b?ocid=msedgdhp

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Danger: Confusing Words Ahead!

Many words are spelled very similarly and it’s easy to confuse them:

LOOSE (adj.) and LOSE (v.)

BREATH (n.), BREADTH (n.)  and BREATHE (v.)

BATH (n.) and BATHE (v.)

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Palindromes

Palindromes, as you probably know, are words or phrases spelled the same backward and forward. I can’t vouch that all of the following make sense. But think of how hard it must have been to make the latter ones qualify as palindromes. Otto and Anna, I’m talking to you.

racecar

Dammit, I’m mad.

Never odd or even

Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.

Marge lets Norah see Sharon’s telegram.

Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

Dennis, Nell, Edna, Leon, Nedra, Anita, Rolf, Nora, Alice, Carol, Leo, Jane, Reed, Dena, Dale, Basil, Rae, Penny, Lana, Dave, Denny, Lena, Ida, Bernadette, Ben, Ray, Lila, Nina, Jo, Ira, Mara, Sara, Mario, Jan, Ina, Lily, Arne, Bette, Dan, Reba, Diane, Lynn, Ed, Eva, Dana, Lynne, Pearl, Isabel, Ada, Ned, Dee, Rena, Joel, Lora, Cecil, Aaron, Flora, Tina, Arden, Noel, and Ellen sinned.

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Weekend Groaners

Forgive me.

Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.

A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.

Shotgun wedding – A case of wife or death.

A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.

Reading while sunbathing makes you, well, red.

When two egotists meet it’s an I for an I.

A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two tired.

In democracy your vote counts.

In feudalism your count votes.

She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia – the LAN down under.

Every calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted – taint yours and taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

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More Groaners

An invisible man married an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

I didn’t think the chiropractor would improve my posture. But I stand corrected.

I took my new girlfriend out on our first date to the ice rink, and entry was half price. She called me a cheap skate.

Studies show cows produce more milk when the farmer talks to them. It’s a case of in one ear and out the udder.

My wife claims I’m the cheapest person she’s ever met. I’m not buying it.

Did you know that a raven has 17 rigid feathers called pinions, while a crow only has 16?  The difference between a raven and a crow is just a matter of a pinion.

I told my carpenter I didn’t want carpeted steps. He gave me a blank stair.

What did the surgeon say to the patient who insisted on closing up his own incision?
Suture self.

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Public Signs Written in Correct English

Sent to me by Kathy Sandel. These are priceless.

Cocktail lounge, Norway: LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.

Doctor’s office, Rome: SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Dry cleaners, Bangkok: DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.

In a Nairobi restaurant: CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE, OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.

On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi: TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.

On a poster at Kencom: ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO WE CAN HELP.

In a city restaurant: OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.

In a Cemetery: PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations: GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE, OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIORS IN BED.


On the menu of a Swiss Restaurant: OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

In a Tokyo Bar: SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.

Hotel, Yugoslavia: THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE, IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

Hotel, Japan: YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

In the lobby of a Moscow Hotel, across from a Russian Orthodox Monastery: YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY, WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY, EXCEPT THURSDAY. 

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest: IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE, THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT, UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Hotel, Zurich: BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE. 

Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand: WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen: WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

A Laundry in Rome: LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND THEN SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOODTIME.

And finally – the all-time classic:

Seen in an Abu Dhabi Souk shop window: IF THE FRONT IS CLOSED PLEASE ENTER THROUGH MY BACKSIDE.

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Time to Groan

“Lexophile” describes those who have a love of words, especially in wordplay, such as, “To write with a broken pencil  is pointless.”

Supposedly, an annual competition is held in the New York Times to see who can create the best original example. I say supposedly because I’ve never seen this contest promoted. But here are some examples. Enjoy them: 

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now. 

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. 

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians’ Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore. 

I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time. 

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. 

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A. 

I got some batteries that were given out free of charge. 

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. 

A will is a dead giveaway. 

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. 

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired. 

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered. 

He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed. 

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye. 

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it. 

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me. 

Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils? 

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

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Terrifying!

The other day on the Next Door app, I came across an item for sale:

CALIFORNIA KING SLAY BED

 

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Mark Twain Said It First

Reader. suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

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Find the Error

This from the Los Angeles Times recently:

Throughout American history, incumbent presidents run for a second term by highlighting policy accomplishments. But President Trump is far from typical—uniquely disinterested in most policy matters and instead focused on personal grievances and political quarrels.

Did you spot the word that’s used incorrectly? It’s disinterested. That word most commonly means unbiased, having no preference one way or the other, open to all points of view. The correct word would be uninterested, displaying a lack of interest.

I do admit that disinterested is more and more often used as a synonym for uninterested; because languages are changed by their users, it will be a matter of time before the word on the street can claim victory.

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More From Cami!

I think I should just retire and let my friend Cami take over my blog. During these grim times–and before–she has provided me, and you, with so many lists to bring a smile to your faces. Here’s another:

Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.

A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu – The same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating – Always use condiments.

Shotgun wedding – A case of wife or death.

A man needs a mistress to break the monogamy.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I.

A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired.

What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead giveaway.)

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

In democracy, your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia – the LAN down under.

Every calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted – Taint yours and taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

A midget fortune teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.

Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Thank you, Cami!

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