Monthly Archives: February 2018

Books and Authors

I’ve just returned from a week’s vacation with our children, one human grandchild, and our furry grandson, Gus the Havanese. Meet Gus, sweetest pooch in the world (except for yours).

 

 

 

It was a nasty flight home and I’m tired, so my offering today is a post I copied from a British website that focuses on grammatical and spelling errors in signs. I’ve altered the list a little to change the spelling of some authors’ names. These so-called books and their so-called writers struck me as funny. Maybe it’s due to jet lag.

How to Write Big Books, by Warren Peace

The Lion Attacked, by Claude Yarmoff

The Art of Archery, by Boze N. Arrows

Songs for Children, by Baba Blacksheep

Irish Heart Surgery, by Angie O’Plasty

Desert Crossing, by I. Rhoda Camel

School Truancy, by Marcus Absent

I Was a Cloakroom Attendant, by Mahatma Coate

I Lost My Balance, by Eileen Dover and Phil Downe

Mystery in the Barnyard, by Hu Phlung Dung

Positive Reinforcement, by Wade Ago

“Shhh!” by Danielle Soloud

The Philippine Post Office, by Imelda Letter

Halloween Games, by Bob Frapples

Stop Arguing, by Xavier Breth

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Magic!

© Judi Birnberg

Illusionists and magicians often exclaim, “Abracadabra!” as they perform their tricks. In earlier eras, the word served as a magic incantation to ward off evil spirits and aid in healing.

According to John Ciardi in A Browser’s Dictionary, the word was often written over and over on parchment, which was then folded in the form of a cross or other geometric shape, hung on a string, and dangled around the necks of ailing people. They were instructed to wear the talisman for a specific period of time and perform certain magical rites to bring about the desired healing. Chances are those afflicted were instructed not to open the folded packet. If they complied with all the steps,—abracadabra!—they would be healed.

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And the Prize for the Longest (Unintelligible) Sentence Goes To…

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I don’t have to tell you who spoke the long chunk of words below. The passage is full of fragments, stream of consciousness musings, and run-on sentences. What is a run-on sentence? Not every long sentence constitutes a run-on. You could join countless sentences together with ands and buts and subordinate clauses; it would be torture to read or listen to, but it wouldn’t be a run-on.

A run-on is when you join two or more intact sentences (subject, verb, complete thought) with either (1) commas, sometimes called a comma splice, or (2) no punctuation between them, sometimes called a fused sentence:

(1) You love dogs, some people adore hamsters.   (2) You love dogs some people adore hamsters.

You can fix these sentences by making them separate sentences with end punctuation. Or you can add a conjunction after the comma. You can also separate them with a semicolon.

I’m thinking it might be beneficial to have people pass a literacy test before running for president.

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger, fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

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Finding the Subject With “There is” or “Here is” Sentences

There is a million different reasons why you should finish your assignments as soon as possible.

Here is the recipes for the cookbook you are compiling for our children’s school fundraiser.

I see and hear sentences like these frequently. They contain an agreement problem. The subjects of the sentences are reasons and recipes, respectively. Both are plurals. But the introductory parts, There is and Here is, are both singular. You’re going to need There are and Here are. You can also use There’s or Here’s if the subject is singular.

When sentences start with There is, There are, Here is, Here are, the subject is always going to be the first noun following the introductory clause. The subjects are never There or Here. Therefore, if you use this construction, find the subject by looking at the first noun after it and use There is or There are and Here is or Here are accordingly. Easy, right?

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