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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good on you (I don’t think so!)

You hear it all around you. “Good on this”, “good on that”, “good on you”.

Good is an adjective that describes a noun. In the usage I’m hearing (above), the usage sounds more like a verb: I good, you good, we good, etc. Where in the world of English-speaking people did this term come from? Boo! Hiss! Go to war, Miss Agnes!

Friday, August 17, 2012

From the mouths of babes

You may know how I love the comics. Is it “truth in humor” or “innocence”? Today’s Family Circus (thank you, Bil and Jeff Keane) had the kids playing a board game. Dolly pipes up, “This game isn’t as much fun when we hafta follow all the rules.”

Right on, sweetheart. You’re learning early. Another anarchist is… growing up (altho the poor child hasn’t aged ins 50 years). When/if she does grow up, she can qualify for a copy of my very helpful book for writers: The Anarchist’s Guide to Grammar. Then she can write her own cartoons — her way!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Fun Game

Sitting at the beach? Seeking shade in the back yard? Swigging down a cool one? Converting your hot tub to a cool tub? However you choose to chill, here’s a fun game to help you forget the heat.

List as many adjectives as you can from one extreme to the other — in degrees. Example:


Now try it with the opposite: COOL to FREEZING

I’ll bet you feel cooler already.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Old Foodie Speaks

 Slightly edited, the following arrived with today’s note from The Old Foodie (a favorite contact). Can you find some usage variations?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines brioche as ‘a kind of cake made of flour, butter, and eggs; sponge-cake’, Most folk on either side of the Channel, and on all sides of the big waters, would say that the OED got it badly wrong, and that brioche is bread, not cake. Perhaps the OED is merely out of date. For the word-smiths amongst you: such authorities as I have been able to rustle up at short notice say that the word ‘brioche’ comes from the Middle French dialect brier ‘to knead’, which in turn is of Germanic origin, and is ‘akin to Old High German brehhan ‘to break’.
Okay, I’ll tell you. Notice the single quotation marks where U.S. language uses doubles. And the word “amongst” echos British usage. You’re absolutely right. This writer is from Australia, where “English” takes on elements different from both U.S. and Great B. The part I thoroughly get is “…the OED got it badly wrong”.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There’s No Business Like Grammar Business (tra-la!)

My friend Gina Wilhelm, star theater performer, puppeteer, and actor, reflects my view of grammar with the following:
I realize this is a fool’s errand, given how many people can’t keep “to”, “too”, and “two” straight, let alone “your” and “you’re”, to say nothing of “who’s” and “whose”… but “premier” and “premiere” are NOT the same thing. And when dealing with the performing arts, lemme just say that about 95% of the time, the proper one has an “e” at the end. 
Consider: an actor’s premier performance during the show’s premiere! Oh yes, one other thing, a “premier danseur” is the term often used to refer to the principle male dancer in a ballet. But now we’re back to the French, without whom we probably wouldn’t even have “ballet”… or grammar consternation!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where do they keep the men?

In manholes, of course! I’m still fighting those who consider the utility/sewer/work holes in streets as “manholes”. Some cities think so highly of the covers, they’re decorating them. Yes, painting them and making them pretty. Wouldn’t you love to see some city paint all of its “manholes” pink! (Oops, guess that’s a sexist remark. Sorry…not.)