Tag Archives: English language

Merriam-Webster Time Traveler

Unknown.jpegThis is fun—check out this link: Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler. Enter any year and find what words were first introduced into the M-W Dictionary that year. See what words were born when you were.

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Schopenhauer on Women

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I am a member of a group in Los Angeles called the PLATO Society. (It has nothing to do with Plato; it’s an acronym.) It’s comprised of study/discussion groups that last for 14 weeks, and each of the 14 members of the various groups takes a turn leading the discussion. My course this term is on historic speeches, and one I have chosen was delivered by Nancy Astor, who was the first woman to serve in the English Parliament. In it she states that the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was “always wrong about women.” I knew nothing about him, so I googled and came up with the following. Enjoy.

“Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses and educators of our early childhood, for the simple reason that they themselves are childish, foolish, and short-sighted—in a word, are big children all their lives, something intermediate between the child and the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word. Consider how a young girl will toy day after day with a child, dance with it and sing to it; and then consider what a man, with the very best intentions in the world, could do in her place.”

What a guy.

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All right, already!

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I’m not sure how Bob Marley originally wrote this song, but someone needed to mention that alright is not generally accepted as a correct spelling. It’s two words, ALL RIGHT. All right?

As for the title of this post, already means “up until this time.” All ready means “complete, finished.” The posters for the campaign were all ready to be picked up. George already got them this afternoon.

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Origin of a Cliché

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Apropos of tax day plus one (anyone feeling the pain?), did the expression that you were “paying through the nose” occur to you?

Most clichés can’t be traced to a specific source, but this one can. When the Danes conquered the Irish in the ninth century, they instituted a “nose tax.” If the Irish did not pay, their nostrils were slit. I wonder if this was the inspiration for what Jack Nicholson’s character did in the movie “Chinatown.”

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When to Capitalize Titles

 

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If the title comes immediately before or after a person’s name, capitalize it:

former President Barack Obama

Chairman Mao

Mayor Eric Garcetti

Eric Garrett, Mayor of Los Angeles   but   the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garrett

Pope Francis    but    The current pope is Francis

 

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More on Capitalization

 

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Whatever you do, DO NOT study Trump’s tweets for a lesson in capitalization. He seems to have zero idea of when to use capital letters and just does so at will, most often for emphasis. Of course, when you emphasize everything, you end up emphasizing nothing.

Here’s the deal: If you are writing the official name of something, capitalize it:

I went to Hollywood High School.   But I went to high school in Hollywood. My high school was in Hollywood.

She was born in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But She was born in a hospital in Philadelphia. The hospital she was born in was in Philadelphia.

If the word you are using is not the official name of the thing you are citing, use lower case. In addition, the word the is rarely part of anything’s official name. It’s not The Statue of Liberty. Use lower case for the word the.

 

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Puns Galore

My friend Kathy, another word lover, sent me this list, which I hope you will enjoy. Apparently, an annual contest is held to find the best puns. (Who decides? Members of Punsters Unlimited?)

 

This year’s winning submission is posted at the very end.

 

 

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

 

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

 

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

 

The batteries 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.

 

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

 

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

 

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.

 

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

 

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

 

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

 

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

 

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

 

 

    And the cream of the twisted crop:

 

Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

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