Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Common Agreement Problem

© Judi Birnberg

© Judi Birnberg

How often have you seen or heard the following construction?

There’s three reasons to buy your tickets early.

Omit the contraction and you will see you are saying There is three reasons to buy your tickets early. There is three?

To restore agreement to your sentence, you need to write There are three reasons…. Making that into a contraction, however, is awkward: There’re three reasons…. Ick.

Starting sentences with There is or There are (or Here is or Here are) is a weak construction. Better to write Buy your tickets early for three reasons—and then list them.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Hungry?

This appears to be some kind of fruit juice—named PRETZ? Maybe you’re supposed to eat pretzels with it. This box was about $10; they had to squeeze a lot of pretzes to fill it up.

IMG_2098.jpg

 

Instead of pretzels, you might prefer a little pried seaweed. Fried? Or pried from a rock in the ocean?IMG_2094.jpg

 

You can ask the chef. He’s live!IMG_1858.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Still Lost in Translation

Some signs I found on my recent trip to Japan. 

“Luggages” is a common mistake speakers of languages other than English make. It’s logical, if ungrammatical, especially if you have more than one suitcase. But remember, “peaple” need their seats. As for the last line, I’m wondering if it was directed at the Koch Brothers.IMG_2237.jpg

Will do!IMG_2239.jpg

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

A Few Signs in Japan

As a former teacher of ESL, believe me when I tell you I am aware of how difficult it is to learn English, especially when your native language uses characters and you have no cognates to cling to. Here are a few signs I saw in Japan that made me smile. I give their authors A for effort.

IMG_1597

IMG_1819

IMG_2047

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

A Few More Japanese Vehicles

IMG_2016

IMG_1979

IMG_1599

I’m guessing all the passengers were happy, but one was THE happiest and got the bus named after him or her.

IMG_1980

Does the name change depending on the weather? It was a little windy that day.

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Japanese Vehicle Models

Being a word maven, during my recent trip I was very interested in how Japanese use English. You find Toyota, Nissan and Honda cars all over, but except for the Toyota Prius which has the same name in Japan, our Camrys, Maximas and Accords are given different names there. I was unable to take a photograph of a JIXY or a RUNX—they passed by me too quickly—but here are a few others for you to admire.

IMG_2035.jpg

IMG_2037.jpg

 

IMG_2018.jpg

I’m guessing the Lone Ranger might have chosen this car:

IMG_2228.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Lost in Translation

Unknown.jpeg

I have just returned from two-and-a half wonderful, eye-opening weeks in Japan. It was the first time I was ever in a country where I knew nothing of the language except for a few standard phrases: good morning, hello, goodbye, please, thank you. Obviously, I could not read the writing, and very little was translated into English. Not many people in Japan speak English, but I managed with gestures.

The country is immaculate. No garbage cans are on the streets, even in the largest cities; people take their trash with them. I did not see one food wrapper or cigarette butt on the streets or sidewalks. (It’s considered impolite for people to eat as they walk.) I saw zero graffiti. Children are taught at a very young age to take pride in their country, to take care of it.

The transportation systems are superb, and don’t get me started on the toilets. Not one unheated seat, no matter where I was: in hotels, department stores, subway stations, a power plant. And all the bathrooms were clean. Imagine that!

Sayonara implies sadness in parting, and that was the appropriate word for my feelings  when I left Japan. I long to return. But first I have to get over my monumental jet lag.

2 Comments

Filed under All things having to do with the English language