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.