Category Archives: All things having to do with the English language

You’ll Groan But Will Love These

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My friend Cami knew I would love these definitions and ideas. I do, I do. I think you will, too.

WHO ON EARTH DREAMS THESE UP?
A lexophile, of course!
(Definition: a lover of words and wordplay)
Venison for dinner again?   Oh deer!
 How does Moses make tea?   Hebrews it.
 England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
 I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
 They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a typo.
 I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic.  It’s syncing now.
 Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
 I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
 I stayed up all night to see where the sun went and then it dawned on me.
 This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club but I’d never met herbivore.
 When chemists die, they barium.
 I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can’t put it down.
 I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words.
 Why were the Indians here first?  They had reservations.
 I didn’t like my beard at first.  Then it grew on me.
 Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
 Broken pencils are pointless.
 What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?   A thesaurus.
 I dropped out of communism class because of terrible Marx.
 I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
 Velcro – what a rip off!
 Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last.
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Punctuation—It Matters

 

© Judi Birnberg

 

 

 

In Just My Typo, edited by Drummond Moir (gotta love his name), he cites a 19th century example of carelessness:

A New Orleans cotton broker sent a telegraph to New York, asking if he should buy cotton at the current prices. He received an answer of “No price too high.” Naturally, he bought as much as he could, only to discover that the answer should have been punctuated as follows: “No. Price too high.”

One tiny dot on paper can make a world of difference.

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Discreet vs. Discrete

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Will she be discreet?

These two words are pronounced identically and are commonly mistaken for each other.

DISCREET means circumspect, prudent, careful. If you are discreet, you will avoid gossiping or criticizing others. You try to avoid embarrassing others. Roger promised he would be discreet after his best friend told him he was thinking of divorcing his fourth wife.

DISCRETE means singular, unconnected, separate. Academy Awards are given in multiple discrete categories.

 

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Final Insults From Famous People

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Some people are so clever. Enjoy these. Again, my thanks to Nicki N.
“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.”  
Charles, Count Talleyrand
“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.”  —Forrest Tucker
“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”  
—Mark Twain
 
“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”  —Mae West
 “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”  
Oscar Wilde
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.”  —Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”  —Billy Wilder
 “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening.  But I’m afraid this wasn’t it.”  
Groucho Marx

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Yet More Insults

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“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.”  -George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
 
“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.”  -Winston Churchill, in response
 “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”  -Stephen Bishop
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”  -John Bright
 “I’ve just learned about his illness.  Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”  -Irvin S. Cobb
 “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”  -Samuel Johnson
“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.”  – Paul Keating

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More Insults From Famous People

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Hemingway, no dictionary in sight
Again, my thanks (and yours, I hope) to Nicki:
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”  -William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
 “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.”  
-Moses Hadas
 “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”  
-Mark Twain
 “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”  -Oscar Wilde

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Insults From Famous People

From my friend Nicki, here are some insults from famous people. Oh, the power of words!

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

“He had delusions of adequacy .” -Walter Kerr (theater critic)

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” -Clarence Darrow

Stay tuned for more.

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