Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MICHAEL'S ENGLISH USAGE IS ALIVE

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Please make the appropriate changes and enjoy the site.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NEW RSS FEED

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Michael's English is alive and active and has a new RSS feed.

Please redirect  to michaelsenglishusage.com

I hope everyone will return and keep up the fight.


Michael Lyons

Friday, April 23, 2010

CHANGE IS COMING

EXCITING EVENT

MICHAEL'S ENGLISH USAGE

NEW DESIGN & NEW SERVER
 

  We are still working on the new chapter for Michael's English Usage. We are transferring to a new server and will present a completely redesigned and expanded format.

Michael's English Usage has recently celebrated the completion of three years of posts and this entry is number 894. We will have created 900 posts within the next two weeks and are very proud of that accomplishment.

The new format will provide direct Twitter and Facebook contact and use, and I encourage you to make use of these new tools and to make suggestions for topics to be discussed.

An exciting new feature will be the ability to advertise on Michael's English Usage, and I hope people and companies will take advantage of this opportunity.

A great new feature will be an internal search engine which will allow specific access to past post content. As a result, the speed of finding previous topics will be fantastically streamlined. 

As always, readers will have the opportunity to subscribe to Michael's English Usage and I hope many will take advantage of this.

The newly formatted Michael's English Usage will be up and running over the weekend. Please enjoy the new format. Visit us often. The address will be the same. The content will have the same mandate. And remember: proper English usage is not a dead concept.

Thank you for your support. I hope you continue to visit.

Michael Lyons


INCISIVE/DECISIVE

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "incisive" and "decisive".
Create sentences that depict the correct meaning of each word.

 
PET PEEVE

Chances are good that you can guess what the pet peeve is. 
The question is, "What makes it so peevish, and incidentally, so wrong?"

"At the time Bain went missing, Bernardo had committed a series of sexual assaults in her area."
Dalson Chen, City law firm files $13M lawsuit in wrongful conviction", Friday, April 23, 2010.


TODAY'S WORD

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


CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS


Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

GRAMMAR GEEK GLEE

EXCITING EVENT

MICHAEL'S ENGLISH USAGE

NEW DESIGN

NEW SERVER

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of a new chapter for Michael's English Usage because we will be transferring to a new server and will present a completely redesigned and expanded format.

Michael's English Usage has recently celebrated the completion of three years of posts and this entry is number 893. We will have made 900 posts in the next two weeks and are very proud of that accomplishment.

The new format will provide direct Twitter and Facebook contact and use, and I encourage you to make use of these new tools and to make suggestions for topics to be discussed.

An exciting new feature will be the ability to advertise on Michael's English Usage, and I hope people and companies will take advantage of this opportunity.

A great new feature will be an internal search engine which will allow specific access to past post content. As a result, the speed of finding previous topics will be fantastically streamlined. 

As always, readers will have the opportunity to subscribe to Michael's English Usage and I hope many will take advantage of this.

The newly formatted Michael's English Usage will be up and running over the next two days. Please enjoy the new format. Visit us often. The address will be the same. The content will have the same mandate. And remember: proper English usage is not a dead concept.

Thank you for your support. I hope you continue to visit.

Michael Lyons


RAISON D’Ä’TRE
Identify and correct error in the following piece.

Bonus # 1: identify the irony in this entry.
Bonus # 2: identify how this example epitomizes Michael's English Usage.

"In schools the need could not be more urgent. More than one in three adults in the nation's capital are illiterate."
Nora O'Donnell, NBC Evening News with Brian Williams, Wednesday, April 21, 2010.


TODAY'S WORD

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MIXED BAG OF WORD THOUGHTS

FEELINGS FOR/FEELINGS ABOUT

Explain the difference in meaning between "feelings for" and "feelings about".
Create a sentence that displays the correct meaning of "feelings for".
Create a sentence that displays the correct meaning of "feelings about".


 WOW! WHAT A GREAT CONCEPT

Identify the author of the following truism.

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "eschew".
Define "eschew" and use it in a sentence.
What part of speech is "eschew"?
List two noun forms of "eschew".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I LOVE SARCASM

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF FINE PROFESSIONAL WRITING

Find and correct the error in the following piece. Be sure to cite the applicable rule.
BONUS: feel free to LOL if you identify and understand the irony of this entry.

"So much so that the powers of the Internet have been harnessed to create a punctuation mark intended to show when a sentence is sarcastic."
Mike Barber, Canwest News Service, "Sarcasm mark patented", The Windsor Star, Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "bilious".
What part of speech is "bilious".
Define "bilious" and use it in a sentence.
What is the root of the word?
What other parts of speech can be made with "bilious"?
Apply the definition of "bilious" to the example of professional writing listed above.

Monday, April 19, 2010

WOEFUL WRITING

ANOTHER "PROFESSIONAL" CONTRIBUTION

Identify, explain and correct the error in the following piece.

"Which surely obliges them to be straight with people about the limitations of the anti-HST initiatives."
Vaughn Palmer, Guest Column, "B.C. deals with the HST", The Windsor Star, Monday, April 19, 2010.


TODAY'S WORD

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


REMEMBER THE FORMAT

Five days a week, this blog presents grammar errors, sentence structure errors, punctuation errors, word misuses and abuses and a word for the day. You are asked to identify the errors and correct them and to define and use the word of the day. On the Sunday after each week's entries, the corrections and explanations are posted.

The concept is intentionally Socratic and is intended to challenge you to think about correct English usage in daily communication and to review your responses each Sunday.

The original catalyst for this blog was the appalling misuse of English by professional writers and newscasters. For three years they have provided the material for this blog and, unfortunately, I have all the faith in the world that they will continue to do so. Just listen for two minutes to any newscast by any news station in the country and you will understand.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - April 18, 2010

Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s posts.

Monday

Identify and correct the error in the following selection.

“I  was expecting to be one of the youngest in attendance but was surprised to find a decent amount of 20-somethings scattered in the crowd.”

How many times do I have to list this error?

Amount” words relate to quantities of things that are measured in bulk.
Number” words relate to things that can be counted.


“I  was expecting to be one of the youngest in attendance but was surprised to find a decent number of 20-somethings scattered in the crowd.”


Tuesday

CONTAMINATES/CONTAMINANTS

Contaminates” is a verb meaning to make impure or to pollute.

Contaminants” is a noun referring to a type of material or stuff that pollutes or makes impure.

Contaminants” is the goo; “contaminates” is the action.


Wednesday

VAPID/VACUOUS

Vapid” is an adjective meaning dull, flat, lethargic or sluggishness or lacking in zest or liveliness.

Vacuous” is an adjective meaning inanely foolish, hollow or empty.


Thursday

SHINED/SHONE

Shined” is the transitive form, meaning an object is required, of the verb “to shine”.
 “He shined his light on the old raccoon who was scavaging in the trash can.”

Shone” is used when the verb is intransitive, or lacking an object, or when the context merely speaks of the act of shining.
“The sun shone intensely all day long.”


Friday

Correct the errors in the following. Be sure to explain what is wrong in each example.
Hint: there are six.


“I should of wrote that story yesterday so that I could of went to the ball game today.”

1. “Of” is incorrect. “Of” is a preposition; it can never be substituted for an auxiliary verb and, most definitely, cannot be used as a contraction for have.
2. “Wrote” is incorrect. The participial form of “to write” is needed.
3. The second “of” is incorrect. “Of” is a preposition; it can never be substituted for an auxiliary verb and, again, cannot be used as a contraction of
have.
4. “Went” is incorrect. “Went” cannot be used with an auxiliary verb such as “could”.


“I should have written that story yesterday so that I could have gone to the ball game today.”


“I was shocked when I seen what happened when I went in the room this morning.”

5. “Seen” is incorrect. The past tense of “to see” is “saw”.
6. “In” is incorrect. There is a difference in meaning between “in” and “into”.
The difference is between entering and exiting a room and toilet humour.

“I was shocked when I saw what happened when I went into the room this morning.”


PET PEEVE - THE/THEE

Thee” is an old form of the pronoun “thou”. It really is the objective case of “thou”.
Today, it means “you”.
Thee” is pronounced as in “he”.
“I give thee a lesson which you should heed.”

The” is known as a definite article.
The” denote a specific item or word as opposed the the indefinite article “a” which designates any item or word.
The is pronounced as in “duh” and is NOT pronounced as in “he”.
“The writing is on the wall that many people constantly mispronounce the definite article “the”.

THE” and “THEE” are NOT interchangeable.


WOW! HOW TRUE IS THIS!

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
Isaac Asimov, a US science fiction novelist and scholar who lived from 1920 to 1992 said this.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Redolent” (adj.) means remindful, heedful, smelling of, perfumed or scented.

Cosmology” (n.) refers to the branch of philosophy concerned about the origin and general structure of the universe, its parts, elements and laws.
“Cosmos” refers to the world or universe.
“Logy” refers to combining forms of science, knowledge, thinking or studying.

Voracious” (adj.) means excessively greedy or grasping, devouring or craving.

Vainglory” (n.) refers to excessive ego, boastfulness, self-love or narcissism.
The root is glory of vanity or pomp.
“Vainglorious” is the adjective form.

Savant” (n.) refers to a man of learning, an intellectual or a scholar.

Friday, April 16, 2010

FRIDAY FUN?

ACTUAL LANGUAGE USE

Correct the errors in the following. Be sure to explain what is wrong in each example.
Hint: there are six.

"I should of wrote that story yesterday so that I could of went to the ball game today."

"I was shocked when I seen what happened when I went in the room this morning."


PET PEEVE - THE/THEE

What does "thee" mean?
What part of speech is "thee"?
How is "thee" pronounced?


What does "the" mean?
What part of speech is "the"?
How is "the" pronounced?

"THE" and ""THEE" are NOT interchangeable.
So why do people pronounce "the" as "thee" when speaking?

Wake up! Ignorance is not bliss!


TODAY'S WORD

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

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS

Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A BANNER DAY FOR GRAMMAR

RECOGNITION

Michael's English Usage
is honoured and proud to be included
in the university online review
as one of the 
top 50 blogs
for grammar geeks.

I recommend you access the site listed below
to gain further insights into
the correct use of the English language.
Keep the torch burning brightly!

Thank you.




SHINED/SHONE
Explain the different uses of the words "shined" and "shone".
What is the specific part of speech of each word?
Create sentences for "shined" and "shone" that clearly show the correct use of each word.


TODAY'S WORD
The word for today is "vainglory".
What part of speech is "vainglory"?
What other parts of speech can you list of this word?
Define "vainglory" and use it in a sentence.
What is the root of the word?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

VERY EASY WORDS TODAY

VAPID/VACUOUS

Explain the difference between the words "vacuous" and "vapid".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences that clearly reveal the meanings of "vapid" and "vacuous".


WOW! HOW TRUE IS THIS!

Identify the author of the following truism.

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”


TODAY'S WORD

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

THIS IS "C" DAY

CONTAMINATES/CONTAMINANTS

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "contaminates" and "contaminants".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences using "contaminates" and "contaminants" that clearly show the meanings of each word.


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "cosmology".
What part of speech is "cosmology"?
Define "cosmology" and use it in a sentence.
What is the root word of "cosmology"?
Hint: if you know the root, the definition should be easy. What is it?
Hint # 2: if you know the meaning of the word's suffix, the definition becomes even easier. What is it?

Monday, April 12, 2010

GOOD MONDAY MORNING

"WHEN WILL IT EVER END...?"

Identify and correct the error in the following selection.

"I  was expecting to be one of the youngest in attendance but was surprised to find a decent amount of 20-somethings scattered in the crowd."
Dylan Kristy, "At 83, Rickles hasn't lost step", The Windsor Star, Monday, April 12, 2010.


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "redolent".
What part of speech is "redolent"?
Define "redolent" and use it in a sentence.
List two other parts of speech that can be formed from "redolent".

Sunday, April 11, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - March 29 - April 9, 2010

Here are the corrections and explanations for the last two weeks of entries.

Monday, March 29

Identify each error and correct it.

“The two of us were in on Windsor's casino explosion from Day 1: Myself as a reporter at city hall, where Windsor's public debate about casino gambling started in earnest in 1990. Andrews was part of a team of NDP public wonks sent down here by the Bob Rae government to open a ‘temporary’ casino.”

“Myself” is a reflexive pronoun and cannot be used in this example.
The colon suggests there is a list to follow, but the sentence ended with only one example. It should be rewritten.

“The two of us were in on Windsor's casino explosion from Day 1. I was a reporter at city hall where Windsor's public debate about casino gambling started in earnest in 1990. Andrews was part of a team of NDP public wonks sent down here by the Bob Rae government to open a ‘temporary’ casino.”

Below is an alternate that is acceptable and correct.

“The two of us were in on Windsor's casino explosion from Day 1: I, as a reporter at city hall where Windsor's public debate about casino gambling started in earnest in 1990; and Andrews, as part of a team of NDP public wonks sent down here by the Bob Rae government to open a ‘temporary’ casino.”


Tuesday, March 30

ADAPT/ADOPT

Adapt”, a verb, means to write in a different form, to accommodate or make fit or to accept.
“I will adapt to the new challenges and survive.”

Adopt”, a verb, means to take over, to borrow, to assume or take on titles.
“I will adopt those children because I love them.”


Wednesday, March 31



Carefully read the following passage and find two errors. One should make you either laugh or groan; the other should just make you groan. Explain the errors and correct them.

“During surgery, Elalem took tissue samples from Milosevski's stomach and himself walked them to the pathology department.”

Did Elalem take samples from Milosevski and from himself? It sure sounds like it. Read it closely.
The problem is the misuse of the word “himself”. It must be eliminated and then the sentence makes sense; mind you, I have never seen tissue samples walk so I would change “walked”.

“During surgery, Elalem took tissue samples from Milosevski's stomach and took them to the pathology department.”


Thursday, April 1

PRESCRIBE/PROSCRIBE

“Prescribe”, a verb, means to lay down rules, to dictate or to order.

Proscribe” is a verb meaning to disallow, to forbid or to veto.


Monday, April 5

SURE/SURELY

Sure” is an adjective meaning certain.

Surely” is an adverb meaning undoubtedly.

Just for fun, “surely” can modify “sure”, but “sure” cannot modify “surely”. And don’t call me “Shirley”. (Do you know who said that in a famous movie? Do you know the movie?)


Tuesday, April 6

TIMES/MULTIPLY

Times” does not mean “multiply” even though we use the term times-tables.
Simply, “times” must not be used to mean multiply.
Multiply”, meaning to increase, is the correct term.

“I multiply 2 by 2 and I get 4. I do not times the numbers. Even I can understand that.”


Wednesday, April 7
Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.

“And waded right in to the unbearable heaviness of being Tiger.”

There is no subject of this group of words pretending to be a sentence.
“In to” should be “into”.

“And he waded right into the unbearable heaviness of being Tiger.”


“Some of it self-imposed, some out of self-preservation.”

This is an incomplete thought because there is no verb.

“Some of it was self-imposed, some was out of self-preservation.”


Thursday, April 8

NOTHING

Nothing” is a singular noun; therefore, its verb must also be singular.

“Nothing but weeds grows in my yard.” (wrong)
“Nothing but weeds grow in my yard.”

“Nothing except sweet candies appeal to Tiffany.” (wrong)
“Nothing except sweet candies appeals to Tiffany.”


Friday, April 9

Fix the errors in the following pieces. Be sure to cite the rule for each error.

“First, to give the impression Earl Woods is in a galaxy far, far away, a virtual Obi-Wan Kenobi offering words of wisdom to a much younger Tiger; the one we knew and loved before all those sordid details about his mistresses and sex life hit the press.”

This is an incomplete thought; there is no main verb.
The semicolon should be a period.

“First, the commercial gives the impression Earl Woods is in a galaxy far, far away, a virtual Obi-Wan Kenobi offering words of wisdom to a much younger Tiger, the one we knew and loved before all those sordid details about his mistresses and sex life hit the press.”


“Or for those of us who refuse to buy it, cowardice and more cowardice.”

This is an  incomplete thought; there is no main verb.

“The commercial shows those of us who refuse to buy it, cowardice and more cowardice.”


“He acts like a kid who's just been taken to the woodshed; a sombre, stoic, sheepish look on his face.”

The semi-colon and word structure are wrong and destroy the correct sense of what is being said.

“He acts like a kid who's just been taken to the woodshed with that sombre, stoic, sheepish look on his face.”


“And the par-five 13th when he went in the creek with his second shot, and survived.”

This is an incomplete sentence because there is no main verb.
“He went in the creek...” conjures up an interesting image, especially if he did it in front of millions of viewers. Actually and factually, his ball went into the creek.
The comma after “shot” is really unnecessary because the subject of both verbs is “he”, but I know what the writer is trying to do.

“He survived the par-five 13th when he drove his ball into the creek with his second shot.”


INTERESTING AND TRUE

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
Voltaire, a French humanist and satirist who lived from 1694 to1778, wrote this.


QUESTION OF THE MONTH:
WHY DO WRITERS,
ESPECIALLY SPORTS WRITERS,
INSIST ON WRITING IN
HEADLINES INSTEAD OF IN SENTENCES?


ONE TRUE RULE

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”
Sophocles, a Greek tragic dramatist who lived from 496 BC to 406 BC, penned this statement.


TWO WEEKS OF WORDS

Temporize” (v.) means to draw out a discussion to gain time, to linger, to loaf or to mill around.

Maven” (n.) refers to someone who is highly skilled, adept, a wizard, a virtuoso or a star.

Lupine” (adj.) means resembling a wolf, a wild species, savage or ravenous”.
 Bonus: “lupine”, as a noun, refers to any plant of the leguminous species with blue, pink or white flowers.

Tawdry” (adj.) means flashy, cheap, garish, gaudy or trashy.
Tawdrily” is the adverb form.
Tawdriness” is the noun form.

Enmity” (n.) refers to hostility, antagonism or a deep-seated ill-will.

Solicitous” (adj.) means showing concern and anxiety, afraid, concerned or careful of someone or something.
Solicit” is the verb form.
Solicitously” is the adverb form.
Solicitousness” is the noun form.
Solicitor” is another noun form.

Naught” “n.) refers to a quantity of no importance, nothing or a complete failure.
Naughty” is the most commonly used word that is derived from “naught”, suggesting sexual impropriety, raciness or auto erotic, so be careful when calling a child “naughty”.

Amorphous” (adj.) means having no definite form or distinct shape, lacking structure or artificial.

Ambiguity” (n.) refers to an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context,
other parts of speech, unclearness or uncertainty.
Ambiguous” is the adjective form.
Ambiguously” is the adverb form.

Friday, April 9, 2010

FRIDAY'S FOLLIES

A PLETHORA OF  EXAMPLES

Find and fix the errors in the following pieces. Be sure to cite the rule for each error.

"First, to give the impression Earl Woods is in a galaxy far, far away, a virtual Obi-Wan Kenobi offering words of wisdom to a much younger Tiger; the one we knew and loved before all those sordid details about his mistresses and sex life hit the press."
Karen Hall, "Shame on you, Tiger Woods", The Windsor Star, Friday, April 9, 2010.

"Or for those of us who refuse to buy it, cowardice and more cowardice."
Karen Hall, "Shame on you, Tiger Woods", The Windsor Star, Friday, April 9, 2010.

"He acts like a kid who's just been taken to the woodshed; a sombre, stoic, sheepish look on his face."
Karen Hall, "Shame on you, Tiger Woods", The Windsor Star, Friday, April 9, 2010.

"And the par-five 13th when he went in the creek with his second shot, and survived."
Cam Cole, "Watson wows Augusta", The Windsor Star, Friday, April 9, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "ambiguity".
What part of speech is "ambiguity"?
What other parts of speech can be made from "ambiguity"?
Define "ambiguity" and use it in a sentence.

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS


Corrections and explanations for the entries from this week and last week will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ANOTHER YEAR - A CONTINUING MISSION

 NOTHING

Correct the following sentences and cite the rule that applies.

"Nothing but weeds grows in my yard."

"Nothing except sweet candies appeal to Tiffany."
  

TODAY'S WORD

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


CONGRATULATIONS TO ME:
THREE YEARS AND COUNTING

On April 6, 2007, I published my first blog entry, citing lofty ideals and a mandate to harass professional writers, newscasters and radio and television speakers for so much abuse of the English language. I like to think that, in a small way, I have pushed them to be aware of their obligations to the public and, especially, to young and impressionable readers and listeners.


I take pride in offering a word-a-day to challenge people to broaden their vocabularies.

I also take pride in trying to improve punctuation, sentence structure and grammar.

Today's posting is number 881 and I fully intend to keep going, to keep challenging and to always champion the correct use of the English language.


Please visit my "FRIENDS" who are listed in the column to the right.

Please join the  "FOLLOWERS" of this blog by clicking on "follow" in the box to the right.


Thank you. Come back often.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BAD STRUCTURAL WRITING

SPORT BLOOPERS

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.

"And waded right in to the unbearable heaviness of being Tiger."
Cam Cole, "Rival feels Tiger's pain", The Windsor Star, Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

"Some of it self-imposed, some out of self-preservation."
Cam Cole, "Rival feels Tiger's pain", The Windsor Star, Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

ONE TRUE RULE

Identify the author of the following truism.

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "naught".
What part of speech is naught"?

Define "naught" and use it in a sentence.
What is the most commonly used word that is derived from "naught"?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BRANCHING OUT

TIMES/MULTIPLY

In the world of math, what is correct: to "times" numbers, or to "multiply" numbers? 
Explain the correct use of the terms "times" and "multiply".

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "solicitous".
What part of speech is "solicitous"?
Define "solicitous" and use it in a sentence.
List four other forms of "solicitous" and identify what part of speech each is.

Monday, April 5, 2010

BACK TO WORD BUSINESS

SURE/SURELY

Explain the differences between the words "sure" and "surely".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences that clearly show the correct use of "sure" and "surely".

TODAY'S WORD

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

REMEMBER

Corrections and explanations for last week and this week's entries will be posted next Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LAST OFFERINGS OF THE WEEK

TAKE NOTE

 The next entry on the blog will be on Monday, April 5, 2010.
The corrections and explanations for this week and next week
will be published on Sunday, April 11, 2010.

I wish everybody a wonderful and happy Easter.


PRESCRIBE/PROSCRIBE

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "prescribe" and "proscribe".
Create sentences that clearly show the correct use of "prescribe" and "proscribe".

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "tawdry".
What part of speech is "tawdry"?
Define "tawdry" and use it in a sentence.
What other forms of the word can you list?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

READ VERY CLOSELY TODAY

DOUBLE DOSE

Carefully read the following passage and find two errors. One should make you either laugh or groan; the other should just make you groan.
Explain the errors and correct them.

"During surgery, Elalem took tissue samples from Milosevski's stomach and himself walked them to the pathology department."
Sarah Sacheli, "Suit cites MDs' errors in loss of stomach", The Windsor Star, Wednesday, March 31, 2010.


INTERESTING AND TRUE

Identify the author of the following piece of philosophy.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "lupine". (Adjective form)
Define "lupine" and use it in a sentence.
Bonus: win a gold star by giving the noun definition of "lupine".

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EASILY MISUSED WORDS

ADAPT/ADOPT

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "adapt" and "adopt".
Create sentences that clearly show the meanings of the words "adapt" and "adopt".
What part of speech is each word?
What other parts of speech can be made from these words?

TODAY'S WORD

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

MONDAY MOANING

ALAS! ALACK! SUCH WRITING WOES!

How many errors can you find in the following piece? 
Identify each error and correct it.

"The two of us were in on Windsor's casino explosion from Day 1: Myself as a reporter at city hall, where Windsor's public debate about casino gambling started in earnest in 1990. Andrews was part of a team of NDP public wonks sent down here by the Bob Rae government to open a "temporary" casino."
Chris Vander Doelen, "Casino exec had wild ride", The Windsor Star, Saturday, March 27, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - March 28, 2010

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

Monday

PRECEDE/PROCEED

Precede” (v.) means to occur earlier in time, to go ahead of, before or in advance of something.
“The cheerleaders will precede the team when going into the stadium.”

Proceed” (v.) means to go on, to continue, to carry on.
“We will move into the stadium and then proceed to the benches at the north end.”


Tuesday

DISSEMBLE/DISASSEMBLE

Dissemble” (v.) means to be dishonest, to conceal the real nature of, to give a false appearance of or to try to hide what is being done.
“The bullies did nothing but dissemble about the brawl and then police were completely frustrated.”

Disassemble” (v.) means to take apart, to break apart or to tear down.
“They will disassemble the old house and try to salvage as much as they can in order to save money.”

Wednesday

INTERMENT/INTERNMENT

Interment” (n.) refers to the burial or the ritual placing of a corpse into a grave.
“We will conduct the interment this morning at 11:00 and will have a rollicking good wake immediately after.”

Internment” (n.) refers to confinement or imprisonment.
“His internment was for a period of ten years in solitary confinement.”


Thursday

MANIFEST/MANIFESTO/MANIFESTATION

Manifest” (adj.) means readily seen or understood, apparent, evident or clear.
Manifest” can also be a verb or a noun.
“The manifest devastation to the town clearly showed the cruelty of the conquering army.”

Manifesto” (n.) is a public declaration as of a sovereign or a government. It also can refer to a list of cargo on a ship.
“The conquering forces posted their manifesto on the door of the government building so everyone could read it.”

Manifestation” (n.) refers to an indication or a public demonstration for political effect or an expression of emotion without words.
“Her tears were a powerful manifestation of the pain she had suffered when her husband was killed.”


Friday

GARRULOUS/QUERULOUS

Garrulous”, an adjective, means chatty, gabby, given to much talk, especially about trifles.

Querulous”, also an adjective, means fretful, whiney, grumbling or faultfinding, petty, complaining or tending to make moral judgments based on personal opinions.


CYNICAL BUT PROFOUND

Explain how the quote reflects the title.

“He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.”
William Shakespeare wrote this in “Much Ado About Nothing”.

The cynicism is that hats are often changed and more often taken off and put on just to suit the weather. Shakespeare’s profundity ridicules those who are so fickle as to have such shallow faith. I am sure there are other interpretations, but this one is very evident.


PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK

Find and correct the peeve in the following sentence. Posit why it qualifies as a "pet peeve".
 

“I was driving behind a woman that refused to drive up to the speed limit.”

People are not things. A person should not, and cannot, be a “that”! It ticks me off that people are so inconsiderate as to refer to others as things and that is why it qualifies as a pet peeve. I will not address the problem of the person who will not go the speed limit; that is another peeve that will get some attention in a different forum.

"I was driving behind a woman who refused to drive up to the speed limit."


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Pyre” (n.) refers to wood piled or heaped for burning, particularly as a funeral rite.
Pyromaniac”, referring to one obsessed with fires, is a word derived from “pyre”.

Retributive” (adj.) means avenging, paying back, seeking revenge or vindicatory.
Retribution” (n.) and “retributory” (adj.) are other forms of the word.

Harangue” (n.) refers to a bombastic declamation, a rant or a lecture.
Harangue” (v.) means to address forcefully, to berate, to rebuke or lambast.

Extemporize” (v.) means to perform without preparation, to ad-lib or to improvise.
Extemporaneous” is the adjective form.
Extempore” is the adverb form.

Postulate” (v.) means to claim, to hold, to claim, to hold as a fundamental truth or to assume the existence of truth without reasoning.

Friday, March 26, 2010

SOME MORE INTERESTING WORDS

GARRULOUS/QUERULOUS

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "garrulous" and "querulous".
What part of speech is each word?
Use "garrulous" and "querulous" in sentences that display their respective meanings.


PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK

Find and correct the peeve in the following sentence. Posit why it qualifies as a "pet peeve".

"I was driving behind a woman that refused to drive up to the speed limit."


TODAY'S WORD

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


CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS


Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

INTERESTING WORDS

MANIFEST/MANIFESTO/MANIFESTATION
The root word is the same but "manifest", "manifesto" and "manifestation" have somewhat different meanings.
What part of speech is each word?
Explain the differences in meaning among the three words, "manifest", "manifesto" and "manifestation".
Create clear sentences that display the meanings of "manifest", "manifesto" and "manifestation".



TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "extemporize".
What part of speech is "extemporize"?
Define "extemporize" and use it in a sentence.
What other forms of the word can be listed?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SOME CLEVER WORDS & IDEAS

INTERMENT/INTERNMENT

Explain the difference between the words "interment" and "internment".
Create sentences for "interment" and "internment" that reflect the meanings of the words.


CYNICAL BUT PROFOUND

Identify the author of the following piece.
Explain how the quote reflects the title.

“He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.”


TODAY'S WORD

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WORDS THAT SOUND GOOD

DISSEMBLE/DISASSEMBLE

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "dissemble" and "disassemble".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences that demonstrate the meanings od "dissemble" and "disassemble".


TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "retributive".
What part of speech is "retributive"?
Define "retributive" and use it in a sentence.
What other parts of speech can be made from "retributive"?

Monday, March 22, 2010

"P" AS IN POPULAR

PRECEDE/PROCEED

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "precede" and "proceed".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences that display the meanings of the words "precede" and "proceed".

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "pyre".
Define "pyre" and use it in a sentence.
What part of speech is "pyre"?
What other words can you list that use "pyre" as a base?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - March 21, 2010

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

Monday

DEW/DO/DOO/DUE

Dew” (n.) is the moisture on the grass in the morning and it should be pronounced as in “pew”.

Do”, normally a verb meaning to perform or accomplish something, can be a noun referring to a party or a hair style.

Doo” (n.) on the grass is what your dog left and you didn’t pick up.

Due” is an adjective meaning owing or scheduled to arrive.


Tuesday

REPEL/REPULSE

Repel”, a verb, means to force back, to reject or to fill with distaste or disgust.

Repulse”, also a verb, means to fight off, to drive away or to ward off.

The subtle difference between the two is that one is repelled by another person, not repulsed, ever though that person might be repulsive.


HOW MANY?

How many errors can you detect in the following piece? Give the specifics of each and fix each.

“Laying in bed at Royal Inland Hospital Ben Basaraba, 24, from Creston, B.C., talks about the Big Iron Shootout at Revelstoke, where two were killed and 30 injured in a snowmobile-triggered avalanche on Boulder Mountain Saturday.”

“To lay” means to put down something as in “laying a floor.”
“Laying in bed” conjures interesting images but it is wrong; “lying”is required, and don’t make a pun of that.
An inconsistency is evident in “...two were killed and 30 injured...” in that numbers under one hundred should be written; at least, the writer could be consistent.
To keep the verbs consistent, “were” should be inserted before “injured”.


“Lying in bed at Royal Inland Hospital Ben Basaraba, 24, from Creston, B.C., talks about the Big Iron Shootout at Revelstoke, where two were killed and thirty were injured in a snowmobile-triggered avalanche on Boulder Mountain Saturday.”

Wednesday

Identify and correct the error in the following entry.

“Almost as tickled as CBS, which can expect off-the-charts ratings if Woods is still alive on the weekend, after ESPN carries the first two rounds.”

This is an incomplete thought. Who, or what, is almost as tickled?

“The PGA will be almost as tickled as CBS, which can expect off-the-charts ratings if Woods is still alive on the weekend, after ESPN carries the first two rounds.”


Thursday

NOTATE/NOTE

Notate” means to write comments about a text or to make notations about text. Thios os often done by students in the margins of their textbooks.

Note” means to pay attention, to observe or to notice. There are many other meanings but this is the operational one for this context.

ONE TO PONDER

“Prejudice is opinion without judgment.”
Voltaire, a French author, humanist and satirist who lived from 1694 to 1778, wrote this.


Friday

Identify and correct the errors in the following selections.

“Too much to handle.”

This is an incomplete thought; there is no verb.

“The Spitfires were too much to handle.”


“To doubt whether this Spitfire squad has what it takes to complete the mission.”

This also is an incomplete thought.

“This win should stop to any doubt whether this Spitfire squad has what it takes to complete the mission.”


LAST WEEK'S PET PEEVE - PRONUNCIATION OF "A"

This peeve involves everyone from the President of the United States down through a multitude of reporters and tons of people in between. It wouldn't be quite so bad if there were any consistency but there is none.

The indefinite article "a" is pronounced  "a" as in "hat". It is NOT PRONOUNCED as "a" as in "hay".


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Harbinger” (n.) refers to a forerunner, a herald or a precursor, as in the robin being the harbinger of the coming of spring.

Rancorous” (adj.) means showing deep-seated resentment, animosity or bitterness.
Rancor” is the US noun form and “rancour” is the British and Canadian form.

Comportment” (n.) refers to a dignified manner of conduct, a bearing or presence as in the queen having regal comportment.

Barbarous” (adj.) means brutal, cruel, vicious, beastly or savage.

Apocalyptic” (adj.) means foreshadowing, prophetic or revelatory.
Apocalypse” is the noun form. The term is used in the bible regarding revelations of the ultimate divine purpose.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FRIDAY'S FARE

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Identify and correct the errors in the following selections.

"Too much to handle."
Bob Duff, "Spits flex muscles", The Windsor Star, Friday, March 19, 2010.

"To doubt whether this Spitfire squad has what it takes to complete the mission."
Bob Duff, "Spits flex muscles", The Windsor Star, Friday, March 19, 2010.


THIS WEEK'S PET PEEVE - PRONUNCIATION OF "A"

This peeve involves everyone from the President of the United States down through a multitude of reporters and tons of people in between. It wouldn't be quite so bad if there were any consistency but there is none.


The indefinite article "a" is pronounced  "a" as in "hat". It is NOT PRONOUNCED as "a" as in "hay".

 
TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "apocalyptic".
What part of speech is "apocalyptic"?
Define "apocalyptic" and use it in a sentence.
List other forms of the word and identify what part of speech each is.

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS

Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

REALLY EASY ENTRIES TODAY

NOTATE/NOTE

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "notate" and "note".
What part of speech is each word?
Define "notate" and "note" and use them in sentences.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

HOW DIFFICULT IS SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION?

NON-COMPLETE THOUGHT 

Identify and correct the error in the following entry.

"Almost as tickled as CBS, which can expect off-the-charts ratings if Woods is still alive on the weekend, after ESPN carries the first two rounds."
Cam Cole, Canwest News Service, "Woods will hide behind Augusta's veneer", The Windsor Star, Wednesday, March 17, 2010.

HERE IS ONE TO PONDER

Identify the author of the following thought.

“Prejudice is opinion without judgment.”

TODAY'S WORD 

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WORD PRECISION DEMANDED

REPEL/REPULSE

Explain the difference in meaning between "repel" and "repulse". It is very subtle, so be precise.
Create sentences that demonstrate the meanings of the words "repel" and "repulse".


HOW MANY?

How many errors can you detect in the following piece? Give the specifics of each and fix each.

"Laying in bed at Royal Inland Hospital Ben Basaraba, 24, from Creston, B.C., talks about the Big Iron Shootout at Revelstoke, where two were killed and 30 injured in a snowmobile-triggered avalanche on Boulder Mountain Saturday."
Keith Anderson, Canwest News service, photo tag, "B.C. plans crackdown", The Windsor Star, Tuesday, March 16, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "rancorous".
Define "rancorous" and use it in a sentence.
What part of speech is "rancorous"?
What is the noun form of the word?
Create a sentence using "rancorous".

Monday, March 15, 2010

DO A GOOD JOB TODAY

DEW/DO/DOO/DUE

Define these four common and simple words: "dew", "do", "doo" and "dew".
What part of speech is each word?
Create sentences for "dew", "do", "doo" and "dew" which display the meanings of the words.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Sunday, March 14, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - March 14, 2010

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

Monday

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces. Try to identify four examples.

“Grow your savings with ING Connect.”

You cannot grow savings; savings grow by themselves as do crops and hair.

“Build your savings with ING Connect.”


“We've extended our working hours and grown our team...”

This is the same rule violation as in the first example.

“We've extended our working hours and developed our team...”

“French frigate Nivose has seized 35 pirates in three days off of Somalia, the French military said on Sunday, claiming 'the biggest seizure' so far in the vital shipping lane.”

“Off of” is incorrect; these two prepositions cannot be used together. 
How does France “seize” pirates which is what is stated in the headline? I have interesting visions coming into my mind on that one. I think it is a poor choice of words.

“French frigate Nivose has seized 35 pirates in three days off Somalia, the French military said on Sunday, claiming 'the biggest seizure' so far in the vital shipping lane.”
France captures pirates off Somalia, The Windsor Star, Monday, March 8, 2010.


Tuesday

ANTI-/ANTE-

Prefix” is something put in front or before a word or element..

Anti” is a prefix meaning opposed to or against, preventing or relieving.
“Anticlimax”, “antidote” and “anticipate” are some examples.

Ante” is a prefix meaning before or preceding.
“Antedate”, “antecedent” and “antediluvian” are examples.
“Ante”, as a noun, refers to a stake in poker put in the pool be each player before the hand is seen.


Wednesday

EXALT/EXULT

Exalt” (v.) means to raise something up high, to extol the virtues of something or someone or to glorify.
Exaltation” is the noun form.
Exalted” is the participial form.
Exalter” is a noun form for one who exalts.

Exult” (v.) means to celebrate joyfully, to rejoice proudly ot to be highly elated.
Exultingly” is the adverb form.
Exultant” is the adjective form.
Exultation” is the noun form.


Thursday

DEPRECIATE/DEPRECATE

Depreciate”, a verb, means to lower or lessen the value of something, to decay or to belittle.
It is spoken with a soft “c”.
“Depreciation” is the noun form.
“A car’s value depreciates with age.

Deprecate”, a verb, means to express earnest disapproval of, to urge reasons against or to protest against.
It is spoken with a hard "c".
“Deprecation” is the noun form.

“Please do not deprecate my efforts at explaining the meaning of words.”


Friday

IMMIGRATE/EMIGRATE

Immigrate” means to move into a new country; “im”,  which has to do with going in, is the clue.

Emigrate” means to leave a country. The “e” at the beginning of the word is the clue because it comes from “ex” meaning to go out as in “exit”.

A CHARACTER TRUTH

“Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.”
William Shakespeare, who lived from 1564 to 1616, wrote this.
Bonus: it is taken from Titus Andronicus.

THE WEEK'S PET PEEVE

Is this one unbelievably inane or just inane?
"My bad!"


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Effusive” (adj.) means alive, animated, gushing or said with unrestrained enthusiasm

Anterior” (adj.) means near the head, toward the front plane of the body or prior in time.

Fractious” (adj.) means easily irritated or annoyed, hard to manage or unruly.

Decadent” (adj.) means marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay, epicurean or voluptuous.
Decadence” is the noun form.
Decadently” is the adverb form.

Imprecate” (v.) means wish harm upon, to put a curse on, to damn or to utter obscenities.
Imprecatory” is the adjective form.
Imprecation” is the noun form.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I LOVE FRIDAY

THIS WEEK'S PET PEEVE

Is this one unbelievably inane or just inane? You decide. Fell free to comment.

"My bad!"

IMMIGRATE/EMIGRATE

Explain the difference in meaning between the words "immigrate" and "emigrate".
What part of speech is each word?
Use "immigrate" and "emigrate" in sentences.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "imprecate".
What part of speech is "imprecate"?
Define "imprecate" and use it in a sentence.
What is the noun form of the word?

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS


Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"D" DAY

DEPRECIATE/DEPRECATE

Explain the difference between the words "depreciate" and "deprecate"; be sure to consider pronunciation in your explanation.
What part of speech is each word?
What other parts of speech can be made from "depreciate" and "deprecate"?
Create sentences using "depreciate" and "deprecate".

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "decadent".
What part of speech is "decadent"?
What other part of speech can be derived from "decadent"?
Define "decadent" and use it in a sentence.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SOME GOOD WORDS & THOUGHTS

EXALT/EXULT 

Explain the difference between "exalt" and "exult".
What part of speech is each word?
List as many forms of "exalt" and "exult" as you can.
Create sentences for "exalt" and "exult" that clearly show the meanings of the words.

A CHARACTER TRUTH

Identify the author of the following thought.
Bonus: get a gold star if you can name the work from which this quote is taken.

“Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.”

TODAY'S WORD

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

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A PREFIX CHALLENGE

ANTI-/ANTE-

Define the word "prefix".
Explain the difference between the prefixes "anti" and "ante".
Create sentences using words that contain the prefixes "anti" and "ante".
List three words for each of the two prefixes. Be sure you know the meanings of the words you list. You may not use the word of the day that is listed below.


TODAY'S WORD

Today's word is anterior".
What part of speech is "anterior"?
Define "anterior" and use it in a sentence.

Monday, March 8, 2010

BASIC WRITING NON-SKILL

PROFESSIONAL WRITERS AT WORK AGAIN!

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces. Try to identify four examples.

"Grow your savings with ING Connect."
ING commercial

"We've extended our working hours and grown our team..."
Bell Canada commercial

"French frigate Nivose has seized 35 pirates in three days off of Somalia, the French military said on Sunday, claiming 'the biggest seizure' so far in the vital shipping lane."
France seizes pirates off Somalia, The Windsor Star, Monday, March 8, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - February 7, 2010

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

Monday

Identify and correct the errors in the following examples.

“The other podium. The one the International Olympic Committee - and everyone on Earth other than North Americans - recognizes as the true measure of the sporting nations: gold medals, baby.”

There are two incomplete thoughts in this example and they should be all in one sentence.
I disagree with the use of dashes in place of commas, but that is often debated. To me, a dash says that the writer has no idea of the correction punctuation to be used.
Is “baby” necessary?


“The real test is the other podium, the one the International Olympic Committee, and everyone on Earth other than North Americans, recognizes as the true measure of the sporting nations: gold medals, baby.”


“Not the loose change the Americans have been scooping up at every turn. Not the, er, minor medals. Gold.”

This example is also made up of incomplete thoughts. The next thing will probably be sentences with all the words in short forms. Pseudo-jock-cool-style should not trump good grammar in newspaper reporting!

“The true test is not the loose change the Americans have been scooping up at every turn, not the, er, minor medals. Only gold is the standard.”


Tuesday

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces: there are two; some might argue there are three.

“Which is why, 10 minutes into the Canada-U.S. hockey game on Sunday, my wife - a hockey fan of the rabid French-Canadian variety - and I decided we had to watch the rest of the game in public somewhere.”

This is a subordinate clause because of the word “which”, a subordinate conjunction; “which” must be changed.
Note my objection to dashes; it applies here, also.


“That is why, 10 minutes into the Canada-U.S. hockey game on Sunday, my wife, a hockey fan of the rabid French-Canadian variety, and I decided we had to watch the rest of the game in public somewhere.”


“And we sung the whole thing, no petering out in embarrassed silence halfway through like the old days.”

Conjugate the verb “to sing”. The past tense is “sang”.
“Sung” can only be used with an auxiliary verb such as “have”.
The sentence structure is faulty; try adding prepositions to make better sense.


“And we sang the whole thing, with no petering out in embarrassed silence halfway through like we used to do in the old days.”


Wednesday

PRESUME/ASSUME

Presume” means to gather, to infer, to understand without prior knowledge or to believe without prior proof or to behave arrogantly or overconfidently. The key to this word is the prefix “pre” which means before.
“Do not presume to be in charge if people do not obey your wishes.”

Assume” means to take for granted without verification or proof, to suppose or to take on titles, to take control of or to pretend or to be taken up.
“I assume you will speak about your Olympic experiences when you return from the games.”


Thursday

Identify and correct the error in the following piece.

“ ‘If the (bridge company) wishes to resubmit the application at some future date, there submission should demonstrate that sufficient legal authority to build the proposed bridge exists - which includes definitive proof of resolution of the property rights issue,’ said Elgaaly.”

What does “there” mean?
What does “their” mean?
How could anyone make this mistake?
And then, how could the writer use “their”, a plural word, when referring to a singular entity, “company”?
A dash is used again; it should be a comma.


“ ‘If the (bridge company) wishes to resubmit the application at some future date, its submission should demonstrate that sufficient legal authority to build the proposed bridge exists, which includes definitive proof of resolution of the property rights issue,’ said Elgaaly.”

PRONOUNS

Identify and correct the errors in the following sentences.
The key is simple: there are subjective pronouns and objective pronouns and they are not interchangeable.

“Mary likes Joe and I.”

“Like” takes an object after it so “I” cannot be used.

“Mary likes Joe and me.”


“Us computer users consider ease of use when we buy our computer programmes.”

Us is objective and cannot be used as a subject.

 “We computer users consider ease of use when we buy our computer programmes.”


“The winner of the gold medal was her.”

Was is a copula verb and takes a subjective completion after it. If you don't believe me, put "she" as the subject.

“The winner of the gold medal was she.”
“She was the winner of the gold medal.”

“Cathy and me like him.” 

“Me” cannot be used as a subject.

“Cathy and I like him.”


Friday

Identify and correct the errors in the following excerpts.

"...according to he and his attorney..."

To” is a preposition and takes an object after it; “he” is subjective and cannot be used.
Courtesy always demands that the other person be placed first.


"...according to his attorney and him..."


"...one of the problems of the federal government is how to continue to grow employment opportunities..."

We do not grow things; they grow by themselves. Use build”, “increase”, “expand”, “develop" or “cause to grow” instead.

"...one of the problems of the federal government is how to continue to expand employment opportunities..."


A NOBLE CONCEPT

“All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”
Aristotle, the Greek critic, philosopher and physicist who lived from 384 BC to 322 BC, wrote this.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Valedictory” (n.) refers to a farewell address or oration delivered by an outstanding member of a graduating class or a bidding farewell or goodbye.

Winsome” (adj.) means charming in a naive, childlike manner, appealing or fair.

Excoriate” (v.) means to decry, to condemn, to strip or remove the skin from or to denounce.

Debacle” (n.) refers to a sudden or violent collapse, a ound defeat or a disaster.

Obloquy” (n.) refers to a state of disgrace resulting from public abuse, ignominy, shame or a malicious attack.

Friday, March 5, 2010

HAVE A GOOD GRAMMAR FRIDAY

CONGRATULATIONS

I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the organizers of National Grammar Day that was celebrated yesterday. The next step is to try to convince people, especially professionals who are in the faces of the public on a daily basis, the importance of this movement. 


TV ANCHORMEN AT WORK

Identify and correct the errors in the following excerpts from some local newscasts last night.

"...according to he and his attorney..."
Devin Scillian, WDIV Local 4 News, Detroit, Thursday, March 4, 2010, 6:04 pm.

"...one of the problems of the federal government is how to continue to grow employment opportunities..."
 Jim Crichton, "A" News, Windsor, Thursday, March 4, 2010, 6:05 pm. 


TODAY'S WORD

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

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS


Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A MIX OF ENGLISH USAGE CHALLENGES

CARELESS PROOFING

Identify and correct the error in the following piece.

" 'If the (bridge company) wishes to resubmit the application at some future date, there submission should demonstrate that sufficient legal authority to build the proposed bridge exists - which includes definitive proof of resolution of the property rights issue,' said Elgaaly."
Dave Battagello, "Plan for 2nd span takes big hit", The Windsor Star, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

PRONOUNS

Read the following sentences and identify the errors in them.
Cite the applicable rule and correct the errors.

"Mary likes Joe and I."
"Us computer users consider ease of use when we buy our computer programmes.'
"The winner of the gold medal was her."
"Cathy and me like him."

TODAY'S WORD

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



REMEMBER TOMORROW!

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY

 
March 4, 2010

 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GOOD THOUGHT CHALLENGES

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY

March 4, 2010


PRESUME/ASSUME

Explain the difference between the words "presume" and "assume".
Create sentences that show the meanings of the words "presume" and "assume". 


A NOBLE CONCEPT

 Identify the author of the following truism.

“All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”


TODAY'S WORD

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WRITING 01

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY
March 4, 2010


SOME BASICS

Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces: there are two; some might argue there are three.

"Which is why, 10 minutes into the Canada-U.S. hockey game on Sunday, my wife - a hockey fan of the rabid French-Canadian variety - and I decided we had to watch the rest of the game in public somewhere."
Chris Vander Doelen, "What a game changer", The Windsor Star, Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

"And we sung the whole thing, no petering out in embarrassed silence halfway through like the old days."
Chris Vander Doelen, "What a game changer", The Windsor Star, Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

MARCH IN LIKE A LION

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY
March 4, 2010



BE PROUD AND ENTHUSIASTIC BUT...

Identify and correct the errors in the following examples.

"The other podium. The one the International Olympic Committee - and everyone on Earth other than North Americans - recognizes as the true measure of the sporting nations: gold medals, baby."
Cam Cole, "Gold-plated Games", The Windsor Star, Monday, March 1, 2010.

"Not the loose change the Americans have been scooping up at every turn. Not the, er, minor medals. Gold."
Cam Cole, "Gold-plated Games", The Windsor Star, Monday, March 1, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - February 28, 2010

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

Monday

DENOTATION/CONNOTATION

Denotation” refers to the meaning of a term, its dictionary meaning or the class to which a term is applicable.

Connotation” refers to the implied or suggested or secondary meaning of a word.

The denotation of “man” is as the adult male of a species.
The denotation of “woman” is as the adult female of the species.

The connotation of “man” is one of strength, honour, skill and power.
The connotation of “woman” is one of motherliness, compassion, endurance and emotions.

“Now don’t get all bent out of shape about the imagery of men and women as presented in the examples because there are more connotations than I could ever posit.”


Tuesday

Find and correct the error in the following piece. Explain the applicable rule.

“Defence lawyer Frank Miller, who represents Billy pressed Hilborn on the amount of people who visited the apartment.”

I have cited this three or for times and some writers just don’t learn. So I will repeat.
Amount words relate to quantities of things that are measured in bulk.
Number words relate to things that can be counted.


“Defence lawyer Frank Miller, who represents Billy pressed Hilborn on the number of people who visited the apartment.”


Wednesday

 UNDUE/UNDO

Undue”, an adjective, is the opposite of “due”; it means unwarranted or improper.
“She resented his undue attention every time she went for a stroll.”

“Undo”, a verb, is the opposite of “do”; it means to cancel or to reverse.
“It is very easy to undo mistakes on a computer.”

Thursday

MOOT/MUTE

Pronunciation’” is the stress or emphasis that is put on a word.
.
Moot”, an adjective, means open to discussion, to argue or to debate. It is pronounced as in the word “boot”.
“Which hockey team, Canada or the United States, is better ought to be a moot point; after all, it is our game.”

Mute”, an adjective, means refraining from speech, silence or soundless. It is pronounced as in the word “cute”; the “u” sounds like “you”.
“The man was mute in front of the judge when confronted with an extensive list of his crimes.”


Friday

"THEIR" - PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK

“Every person must have their passport to cross the border.”

“Every person” is singular. “Their” is plural and must be changed to match the subject. If you don’t like “his”, use “her”.

“Every person must have his passport to cross the border.”

BARELY, HARDLY, SCARCELY

Barely”, “hardly” and “scarcely” are negatives; to couple them with a negative verb is incorrect since two negatives make a positive.

“He was so proud he couldn't hardly speak.” (wrong)
“He was so proud he could hardly speak.”

“We weren't scarcely able to do the job because of the cold.” (wrong)
“We were scarcely able to do the job because of the cold.”

“I don't barely know her but I would like to.” (wrong)
“I barely know her but I would like to meet her.”

The Bonus star is for not ending the preceding sentence with a preposition. Read it again to see the correction.


A GOOD PHILOSOPHY

“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
Henry Miller, a US author who lived from 1891 to 1980, said this.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Myopic” (adj.) means not being able to focus on near objects; it is a vision impairment called short-sightedness.
The connotation of “myopic” refers to a personality trait wherein a person is short-sighted and cannot see beyond the moment.

Exigent” (adj.) means demanding immediate notice or attention, urgent, precise accuracy and much effort.
Exigency” is the noun form.
Exigence” is another noun form.

Titillation” (n.) is an aroused excitement or exhilaration.

Twitter” (v.) means to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird, to tremble with excitement.
A “twitterer” is a bird that twitters.
Twittery” (adj.) means tremulous, bird-like excitement.
Twit” (v.) means to jibe at, to reproach or upbraid.
Twit”, as a noun, connotes one who has a brain the size of a bird. Might this definition apply to a certain form of communication popular of the internet?

Diffidence” (n.) refers to a lack of self-confidence, self-distrust, self-doubt or reticence.


NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY
March 4, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

A FULL FEAST OF FOIBLES FOR FRIDAY

"THEIR" - PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK

What is the problem in the sentence below?
What is the applicable rule?
Correct the error.

"Every person must have their passport to cross the border."

BARELY, HARDLY, SCARCELY

Identify and fix the errors in the following sentences.
Explain the grammar rule that applies.
Bonus: find and correct the second error in one of the sentences and earn a gold star.

"He was so proud he couldn't hardly speak."
"We weren't scarcely able to do the job because of the cold."
"I don't barely know her but I would like to."

TODAY'S WORD

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

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY - MARCH 4

Remember the date. Visit the site.

nationalgrammarday.com

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS

Corrections and explanations for this week's entries will be posted Sunday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MOOT/MUTE

I cite these words because I have been listening to the Vancouver Olympics commentators and one of them cannot distinguish between "moot" and "mute". It is a question of pronunciation.

Therefore, define pronunciation.
Define "moot" and "mute" and explain the difference between the words.
Explain the difference in pronunciation of "moot" and "mute".
Create sentences for "moot" and "mute" that reveal the correct use of the words.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "twitter".
Define "twitter". You must give the traditional definition and avoid any reference to computer communications.
How many parts of speech can you list for "twitter"?
Create a sentence using "twitter" in its original meaning.

LET US CELEBRATE - NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY - MARCH 4

There is a wonderful site that comprehensively covers a multitude of grammar questions and it is listed as National grammar Day.
Visit the site. It is worth the effort if you value the correct use of the English language.
Check the site listed below. It is great.

nationalgrammarday.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SMALL WORD CHALLENGES

 UNDUE/UNDO

Explain the difference in meaning and use of the terms "undue" and "undo".
What part of speech is "undue"?
What part of speech is "undo"?
Create sentences that clearly show the meanings of "undue" and "undo".

A GOOD PHILOSOPHY

Think about this one and then try to identify the author.

“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "titillation".
What part of speech is "titillation."

Define "titillation" and use it in a sentence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WORD PRECISION

WRONG WORD

Find and correct the error in the following piece. Explain the applicable rule.

"Defence lawyer Frank Miller, who represents Billy pressed Hilborn on the amount of people who visited the apartment."
Craig Pearson, "Killing linked to drug ripoff, murder trial told", The windsor Star, Tuesday, February 23, 2010.

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "exigent".
What part of speech is "exigent"?
Identify two other parts of speech for "exigent".
Define "exigent" and use it in a sentence.

Monday, February 22, 2010

WORD PLAY

DENOTATION/CONNOTATION

Define the terms "denotation" and "connotation".
Using the words "woman" and "man", explain the terms "denotation" and "connotation".
Create a sentence for each term using either the word "woman" or the word "man".

TODAY'S WORD

The word for today is "myopic".
What part of speech is "myopic"?
Define "myopic" and use it in a sentence.
Create a sentence using "myopic".
Bonus: earn a gold star for showing the denotation and connotation of "myopic".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - February 21, 2010

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

Monday

WORD RELATIONSHIPS

Bonus: connect your correction to today's word and win a silver star.
Bonus: connect your correction to today's title and win a gold star.

“Jensen compared the 500 to a Volkswagen. But she said its smaller size wouldn't fit she and her husband's lifestyle.”

“She” is subjective. “Her” is objective. “Her” must be used because it is the indirect object of the verb “fit”.
The speaker should put the other person first and herself last.

Silver Star Winner: this example is a word relationship between a verb and its object.
Gold Star Winner: fixing the error is an amendment or “amelioration”.

“Jensen compared the 500 to a Volkswagen. But she said its smaller size wouldn't fit the lifestyle of her husband and her.”


Tuesday

WRITING STYLE OR WRITING ERROR?

“Not surprising for a toddler who has probably never seen temperatures below 26 C.”

This is not a sentence because it is not a complete thought. What is not surprising for a toddler? Who knows? I, the reader, should not have to go on an expedition to be able to understand a story. The fault is laziness or ignorance of correct writing rules on the part of the writer.

“Complete wonder at snow is not surprising for a toddler who has probably never seen temperatures below 26 C.”


Wednesday

COPYWRITE/COPYRIGHT

Copywrite” is not a word.

Copyright” is the correct word and refers to one’s right to copy the material he owns.

“I own the copyright to my play ‘The Mien of Maude’.”


Thursday

SUBMITTAL/SUBMISSION

Submittal” is the act of giving in, surrendering or submitting. It does not refer to the thing being submitted.

“Your submittal to the punishment will sit well with the public.”

Submission” is a message, an entry, a recommendation or a compliance.

“Your submission to the play publishing committee has been turned down.”


Friday

BREAKUP/BREAK UP

A “breakup” occurs when two people separate.

“Our breakup was painful but necessary.”

A “break up” is the separating of things.

“The ice jam will break up when the weather gets warmer.”


TRUE CYNICISM

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”

T. S. Eliot, dramatist & poet, penned this.


PET PEEVES

Diner: "Thank you for seating us so quickly."
Server: "No problem. What can I get yous guys to drink?"

I hate the self-centred “no problem” that people use in lieu of “You’re welcome.” This was my pet peeve last week and I am emphasizing hgow much I detest it.

Yous” IS NOT A WORD! “You” can be singular or plural. “Yous” is just plain ignorant.

Guys” is a universally abused word but it's gender is male; women and girls who want to be “one of the guys” should gives their heads a big shake.


LAST WEEK’S WORDS

Ameliorate” (v.) means to improve, amend, comport, ease or make better.

Hoar”, as a noun, refers to ice.
Hoar”, as an adjective, means covered with frost or showing the grey signs of age.

Mesmerize” (v.) means to bewitch, to induce hypnotism, to thrill or to magnetize.

Sybaritic” (adj.) means luxurious, sensuous, voluptuous or epicurean.
A “sybarite” is one devoted to luxury and decadence.

Burgeoning” is the present participle of the verb “burgeon” meaning growing and flourishing or sprouting.
Burgeon” is the verb form.