Tag Archives: English

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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Editing Goes Beyond Proofreading

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Surely you know how often I urge you to proofread everything you write. Proofreading will turn up careless errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as typos. Yes, you should still check for all of these, but editing goes beyond that.

Editing makes certain your writing is clear. Are you sure you are conveying the message you intended? Have you assumed your readers know what you know? If so, then why are you writing? You are imparting new information. But you have to be confident you are not confusing your readers, that your information that is new to them is presented logically and cogently.

Editing makes certain your writing is concise. Look for digressions and extraneous words. Get rid of redundancies: last but not least, at this point in time, absolutely complete, true fact, four P.M. in the afternoon, new innovation, blue in color, exactly identical, etc.

I have noticed that when I edit and change wording or move things around, when I then reread what I’ve written I often find I have left a word out or need to remove a word I had inadvertently left in when I revised. This is the time to read your text out loud (quietly, but still audible to you) and one. word. at. a. time. That way you will send your document out without embarrassing glitches. If you read at your normal silent speed, you will very likely speed over them.

Remember, revise comes from the Latin, to see again. 

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A Vexing Word

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Last night I read a brief book review in The New Yorker (yes, The is an official part of the title of my favorite magazine). The book is called A Flag Worth Dying For, by Tim Marshall, which the reviewer described as “an entertaining survey of vexillology….” Tell me that isn’t a word to stop most people in mid-stride. I am certain I have never come across this word before—and I daily come across a lot of words. Fortunately, the reviewer immediately enlightened me and, I’m guessing, most readers, by explaining that vexillology is the study of flags. (The Latin word for flag is vexillum. Who knew? I didn’t.) This sounds like a fascinating book, covering the flags of 85 countries as well as those of the Islamic State, the LGBTQ community—and pirates. Haven’t you always wondered what constitutes a good pirate flag? You can find out in this book.  Aaaargh, matey!

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Um….

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I’ve been dipping into Michael Erard’s book, Um. Yes, that’s the title. The subtitle is Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean. Chances are you won’t be surprised to know that in American English, um and uh are the most common blunders, or fillers, accounting for 40 percent of what Erard calls “speech disturbances.” Those are words that interrupt the smooth flow of sentences.

In other places, people have their own fillers: in Britain, they say uh but spell it er (think of a Brit saying water or butter—you won’t hear an R at the end of those words). French speakers say something close to euh. Germans say äh and ähm, Hebrew speakers use ehhh, and Swedes say eh, ah, aaah, m, mm, hmm, ooh, a, and oh. Very versatile.

The point is that around the world, linguistic blunders exist, no matter the language. However, if you want to be a citizen of the world, um is pretty much universal.

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Top 10 Spelling Peeves (from Grammarly)

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October 8, 2013 · 12:59 PM

How Committed Are You?

How often do you come across people saying or writing they are going to give 110%? Have you ever stopped to think what that means?  If they give a mere 100%, what are they giving?  Everything!

Q: How can you give more than everything?

A: You can’t. So don’t say you will. You will only sound trite, and we don’t want that to happen. Giving 150% is no better. Your limit is 100%.

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