Underused words

February 23, 2010

Here are two words that I think need to be reinserted into English vernacular. The world would be a much better place, like Dudley Do-Right’s Canada, if these words were reinstated in our everyday conversations. These definitions are courtesy of dictionary.com, one of my favorite websites.

scal·ly·wag [skal-ee-wag]
1. a scamp; rascal

das·tard·ly [das-terd-lee]
1. cowardly
2. meanly base

Do the English language a favor and use these words properly in a sentence today. Make sure to enjoy it while you do!

The dastardly scallywag, Snidely Whiplash, was no match for the goodhearted Dudley Do-Right.


Grammar Police

February 4, 2010

This is why I love my friends. I hopped on the social networking site facebook the other day (not sure if you folks have heard of it yet or not, but it’s turning into a pretty big deal). As I looked up and down the newsfeed to see what I had missed during the school day, I noticed that my longtime friend, Kari, had dedicated a webpage to me. This web page, 11 Little-Known Grammatical Errors, seriously made my afternoon. It also reminded me of a few everyday mistakes that I make, but often don’t think about because they’re so ingrained in my vernacular. (I misuse the word hopefully all the time.)

Stop by and give it a read. It should be a reminder to all of you that yes, you do speak English and no, it is not easy to master.

I’m not here to judge

January 10, 2010

But I do anyways. One of my old friends posted an interesting status update on facebook today and as I was facebook stalking her to see what she’d been up to lately, I came across some pretty funny pictures that were taken with her friends. These friends were outside of our social circle growing up. So naturally curious about these people, I clicked on their names to see what they were all about. When I went to one of the person’s facebook pages, this is what I had the unfortunate opportunity to read:

looking for my night and shining armor but having fun with the ones wrapped in tinfoil:)

I know it’s from years spent in Molnar’s classroom that I’ve developed this neurotic obsession with proper grammar and spelling.* And as I’ve mentioned before, no one’s perfect. We all make mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But seriously? A smiley face is never a substitute for punctuation. Ever.

I could go a twenty minute diatribe about the things that really bother me, like this person’s clear lack of caring (or grasp) of homophones (night? Really?) or prepositions (it’s interesting to see that she’s looking for her knight and the shining armor separately instead of a knight in shining armor). Some people may think that I’m being overly critical.  I wholeheartedly disagree with those who take that stance. This kind of person is the reason I had to sit down in an English 101 course that reviewed subject and predicate for an entire semester.

I barely restrained myself from sending this stranger a message. Aside from the fact that it’d make me seem really creepy, I don’t think that this person would really get my point anyways. This point would be that if I were doing the employer thing and looking at your facebook page before I hired you, I would be more apt to hire you with your half naked breasts hanging out underneath a liquor luge than I would if I read something like that.

I’m sure that you can go down through my entries on here and point out spelling and grammar mistakes I’ve missed. However, I hope that I’ve never disappointed anyone through my writing to the level that that single sentence disappointed me.

*In eighth grade, my first year with Mr. Molnar, our class was assigned to write an essay about the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. After we turned in our reports, we were assigned to complete some sentence diagramming in class while Molnar corrected our completed work. As I fervently worked, I heard the footsteps of my teacher approach me. I stopped writing in my notebook and looked up at the face of my English teacher, mentor, and critic.

“How old are you?” he asked me.

I told him my age. The neck of every kid in class craned to look at me.

“How do you spell a lot?” he asked.

“‘a-l-o-t’,” I said.

“Are you telling me that you’re in eighth grade and you still think that ‘a lot’ is spelled as one word?” he said, as he slammed my paper next to me. A big red circle stared back at me, burning a hole through my skull. I could feel the blood rushing to my head as the extremely sensitive capillaries in my ears got that familiar warm feeling that so often accompanied my embarrassment.

I received a five minute lecture that day in the presence of my entire class about how important your written words are, and how, if you’re going to turn something in with your name on it, you had better make sure that you’ve turned in your best work. Misspelling ‘a lot’ was clearly not my best work. Towards the end of the berating, he mumbled quite a bit about how he couldn’t believe they’d send a kid to eighth grade who didn’t know how to spell ‘a lot’. He also told me that ‘a lot’ is one of the most bland, overused terms and that I should look for another word or phrase to take their places any time I get the urge to use them.

That man was the greatest high school teacher I ever had.

i⋅ron⋅ic [ahy-ron-ik]

December 25, 2009

1. coincidental; unexpected

2. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite

Someone told me tonight that I’m skinny enough that a gust of wind could blow me over. As I walked out to my vehicle, a gust of wind actually blew me over.

Someone's not big on semantics

October 3, 2009

Forecast, augury, prognostication, divination, projection. All words that are synonymous with ‘prediction’. A prediction is an educated guess about what’s going to happen. When does this guy ever actually make a prediction?

To see the guy with the really uncool trick, click here.