Saturday, April 11, 2009

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - April 11, 2009

HAPPY EASTER!

Here are the corrections and explanations for last week's entries.

Monday

PET PEEVES

Here is a list of errors and poor English use that have been cited over the last two years. They are totally unacceptable under any circumstances.
If you question these examples of poor writing, you need to review your basics.


1. Incomplete sentences.

2. Subject-verb disagreement.

3. "Went missing..."

4. Poor or non-existent proofreading.

5. "Where did you get that at?" (or variations of dangling infinitives or participles)

6. Comma splices.

7. "I seen..."

8. "I got..."

9. "Off of..."

10. "He says to me..."



Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.

“Take Bill gates: one of the world's richest men, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist.”

This is one of those clich├ęs that really makes no sense. Where should Bill Gates be taken?
The colon is completely misused.


“One example would be Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist.”

“Until he comes up against Jack Bauer, that is.”

This is not a complete thought because of the subordinate conjunction, “until”.

“He wins, until he comes up against Jack Bauer, that is.”



Tuesday

EMINENT/IMMINENT/IMMANENT

Eminent” (adj.) means famous or prominent.

Imminent” (adj.) means threatening, coming up, about to happen or looming.

Immanent” (adj.) means inherent, remaining within or taking place within the mind of a subject and having no effect outside of it.


Wednesday

"A"/"AN"

"A" is an indefinite article used before consonants denoting one entity.

"An" is an indefinite article used before vowels denoting one entity.

"A" is pronounced "a" as in "fat".

"A" is NOT PRONOUNCED "a" as in "hay".



PARAMOUNT/TANTAMOUNT

Paramount”, an adjective, means best, top, supreme or vital.

Tantamount”, an adjective, means equivalent, identical, synonymous or of equal value.


Thursday

EPOCH/EPIC

Epoch”, a noun means a long period of time or an era.
The adjective form is “epochal”.

Epic”, an adjective, means of large scale, or of grand scale.



PURISM PERSONIFIED

Identify the source of the following language truth.

“I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words.”
William Shakespeare penned this in “Othello”.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Diligence” (n.) means thoroughness, attentiveness or carefulness.

Maladroit” (adj.) means awkward, inept, ungainly or gawky.

Punctilious” (adj.) means meticulous, conscientious, thorough, strict or exact in the observance of forms or detail.
“Punctuation” has the same root as “punctilious”.

Hubris” (n.) means insolence or wanton violence stemming from excessive pride and often resulting in retribution or nemesis. Thus, it often refers to fate or the results of one’s arrogance. The word is Greek in origin.


ANOTHER MILESTONE

Thursday's posting was # 600.
Thank you for the support.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CLASSICAL THOUGHTS

NOTICE

There will be no posting tomorrow, Friday, April 10.

Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted on Saturday, April 11.



EPOCH/EPIC

Explain the difference in meaning of the words "epoch" and "epic".
What part of speech is each word?
Create a sentence to illustrate the meaning of each word.


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "hubris".
Define "hubris" and use it in a sentence.
Bonus: identify and explain the etymology of "hubris".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PRONUNCIATION ALERT!

"A"/"AN"

TAKE NOTE ALL YOU NEWS READERS, POLITICIANS, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS, REGIONALISTS, PUBLIC SPEAKERS AND EVERYONE ELSE, INCLUDING THE U.S. PRESIDENT!

"A" is an indefinite article used before consonants denoting one entity.

"An" is an indefinite article used before vowels denoting one entity.

"A" is pronounced "a" as in "fat".

"A" is NOT PRONOUNCED "a" as in "hay".


PARAMOUNT/TANTAMOUNT

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "paramount" and "tantamount".
Use each word in a sentence.


PURISM PERSONIFIED

Identify the source of the following language truth.

“I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words.”


TODAY'S WORD

This one is so apropos.

The word for today is "punctilious".
Define "punctilious" and use it in a sentence.
What part of speech is "punctilious"?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WORD CHALLENGES

EMINENT/IMMINENT/IMMANENT

Explain the differences in meaning among the words "eminent", "imminent" and "immanent".
What part of speech is each word?
Use each word in a sentence to express its meaning.


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "maladroit".
Define "maladroit".
What part of speech is "maladroit"?
Use "maladroit" in a sentence.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A BANNER DAY!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Today marks the second anniversary of MichaelsEnglishUsage.com.
During that time, 597 new posts have been published.
MichaelsEnglishUsage.com receives over 1,000 hits a month, and that is a proud accomplishment for such a seemingly esoteric subject.
MichaelsEnglishUsage.com has presented about 500 words in an effort to keep an awareness of the beauty and complexity of language.
MichaelsEnglishUsage.com has been constantly vigilant in challenging professional writers and speakers to proofread their material and to maintain a high level of professionalism and accuracy in their writings and deliveries.
MichaelsEnglishUsage.com refuses to accept slipshod mediocrity in English usage and will remain a pricking thorn as long as writers continue to provide the content.

Thank you. Keep visiting. The crusade is continuing.



PET PEEVES

Here is a list of errors that have been cited over the last two years and are totally unacceptable under any circumstances.

1. Incomplete sentences.

2. Subject-verb disagreement.

3. "Went missing..."

4. Poor or non-existent proofreading.

5. "Where did you get that at?" (or variations of dangling infinitives or participles.

6. Comma splices.

7. "I seen..."

8. "I got..."

9. "Off of..."

10. "He says to me..."


TODAY'S PROFESSIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.

"Take Bill gates: one of the world's richest men, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist."
Donna Nebenzahl, "Obama seizing success", The Windsor Star, Monday, April 6, 2009.

"Until he comes up against Jack Bauer, that is."
Alex Strachan, "Washington setting helps 24 regain its edgy energy", The Windsor Star, Monday, April 6, 2009.


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "diligence".
What part of speech is "diligence"?
Use "diligence" in a sentence.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - April 5, 2009

Here are the corrections and explanations for last week's entries.

Monday

MULTI-FACETED CHALLENGE

Identify and correct the errors in the examples below.
One unit is correct and must be considered relative to another unit.
Bonus: receive a gold star if you can identify the irony in one unit.



“Proclaiming his show a vocal supporter of the military. Never acknowledging his responsibility.”

Both word units are incomplete thoughts.

“He proclaims himself on his show as a vocal supporter of the military. He never acknowledges his responsibility.”


“If you've seen the clip on YouTube, you know what I mean: the host and his cronies act like braying jackasses.”

This unit is correct. The word after the colon is not capitalized. The error is in the inconsistency between this example and the next one cited below.

“If you've seen the clip on YouTube, you know what I mean: the host and his cronies act like braying jackasses.”


“That's my biggest problem with this clusterjerk: The excuse the guy has been peddling is that it's a comedy show. Entertainment. Not to be confused with real news.”

The word after a colon is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun; “The” should be “the”. Relate this to the example noted above.
“Entertainment.” and “Not to be confused with real news.” are not a complete thoughts.


“That's my biggest problem with this clusterjerk: The excuse the guy has been peddling is that it's a comedy show; it is entertainment; it is not to be confused with real news.”


“I'm a journalist. I got a lot of questions about everything.”

“The word “got”, though probably not incorrect, should be replaced with “have” to elevate the tone of the piece. Personally, I think "got" should be stricken from the English language because it is so often misused.

“I'm a journalist. I have a lot of questions about everything.”

The irony with the whole piece is that a “journalist” has a command of correct English.


Tuesday

AUGER/AUGUR

Auger” (n.) is a spiral tool for boring holes.

Augur” is a verb meaning to bode, to portend, to predict or to foretell. As a noun, “augur” is one who foretells the future.


Wednesday

APRIL FOOLS' JOKE OR APRIL'S FOOLS?

Identify and correct the error in the headline below.
Bonus # 1: explain the contextual connotation of the apostrophies in my title above.


Headline: "1 IN 10 GOV'T WORKERS MAKE MORE THAN $100,000".

The subject of the sentence is “1”. It is singular. Therefore, the verb must also be singular. “10” is the object of the preposition “in” and has no bearing on the agreement between subject and verb.

Headline: "1 IN 10 GOV'T WORKERS MAKES MORE THAN $100,000".

Fools’” is plural possessive. It possesses the word “joke”.
April’s” is singular possessive. It possesses “fools”.


THAT/WHICH/WHO

That”, “”which” and “who” are all relative pronouns.

Which” refers only to things.
“That is the script which I lost yesterday.”

Who” refers only to people.
“They are the ones who have been selected for the roles.”

That” refers to things but may refer to a class or type of person. The distinction, when referring to people, is that it still is referring to a thing such as a class or type.
“They are the type of people that would sell their mothers to make a dollar.”


Thursday

ALTERNATE/ALTERNATIVE

Alternate” (adj.) means rotate, swap or every other in a series. The adverb form is “alternately”.
Because of John’s injury, the alternate driver will run the race.

Alternative” (adj.) refers to or implies a choice between two things. The adverb form is “alternatively”.
“The alternative solution is to try another route.”

Alternative” can also be used as a noun.
"The alternate will perform the task."

Alternate”, with the accent on the second syllable, can act as a verb.
“The Spitfires will alternate goalies for the entire series.”


Friday

EVERYONE/EVERY ONE

Everyone” is a compound pronoun meaning all persons.
“Everyone is ready to begin."

Every one” is a non-compound modified pronoun meaning "any single person or thing" or "every single person or thing”. The adverb “every” modifies the pronoun “one”.
“He picked up every one of the pennies that were on the floor.”


A GOOD LIFE THOUGHT

“The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.”
Whitney Young, an American civil rights leader, stated this.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Inanity” (n.) means stupidity, silliness, idiocy or senselessness.

Ululate” (v.) means to howl as a dog or a wolf or to lament loudly.

Sinister” (adj.) means menacing, ominous, threatening or evil. Originally, it was used in augury and it meant unlucky or unfavourable. It is the opposite of “dexter” which means right. Sinister refers to the left. Thus, left-handed people were considered sinister and right-handed people were dexterous.

Jejune” (adj.) means deficient in nourishing or substantial qualities or unsatisfying to the mind.

Osculate” “v.” means to kiss or to bring into close contact.