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All the English You Will Ever Need

 

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The English language is constantly evolving, both the words we use and the rules that control the usage of those words.  Therefore, it is impossible to ever have a definitive grammar guide, or, if you will, a Complete Guide of American English.  And that’s our excuse.

 

 

Word of the Every So Often

October 16, 2018 

beldame:  (noun)  an old woman, especially an ugly one; a witch.  This year for Halloween, I'm going to dress up like a beldame.

 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Oy Vey Virus

The HGP website has recently become infected with the Oy Vey Virus.  It’s a particularly malicious virus that converts all text files to Yiddish, changes all music files into the soundtrack from Fiddler on the Roof, and all picture files to publicity photos of Jerry Seinfeld.  In order to clear our site of this virus, we will be back flushing all of our files between midnight and 2:00 a.m. (Pacific time) this Sunday morning, April 1.  Whereas this is the only way to absolutely clear our site of this virus, there is the possibility that it can be distributed through any of our connections on the Internet, which includes anybody who has ever visited our site.  The IT Department here at HGP assures us that the chances of this virus actually being back flushed into anybody else’s computer is relatively low.  They don’t believe that it is necessary that you disconnect from the Internet during this time, but they caution you not to open any emails that are in Yiddish or that have the words “Oy Vey” anywhere in the address.

10:06 pm pdt 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Naughty Words

Holy S***!  Did you hear that Mother F-er?  He just used the “N” word!

Aren’t you glad I didn’t use the real words?  Somebody may have been offended… and we couldn’t have that.  Never mind that I still made you think those words.  So what’s the difference?  Really, there is none.  If you’re going to use one of those words, then use it.  I mean, truly, you’re not being any less rude if you call somebody an “a-hole” than if you just came out and said “asshole.”  And if you don’t feel comfortable calling somebody a “bitch,” then you shouldn’t feel comfortable referring to that person as a “B,” either.  Do you think it will make a difference to the person you are calling a “B”?

Here’s the deal.  I have no doubt that there are times when only naughty words truly convey the true depth of what it is that you mean.  That guy who cheated all the old veterans out of their life savings… yeah, he’s an asshole.  However, at best, when you use those words, you’re being rather informal.

In formal writing, you really shouldn’t be using naughty words.  After all, if you refer to the president as an asshole, you really are showing your bias.  Unless…  unless you are quoting somebody else who called the president an asshole, or a mother F-er, or whatever.  If you are quoting somebody and that person used a naughty word, then you can’t be a chickens***.  Use the @!&%! word!  And use “the damn word” without the asterisks, or dashes, or symbols.  After all, you can’t change a quote.  The racist bastard really did say the N-word, and not “N-word.”  So you really need to make sure it is obvious that it is a quote from somebody else, and not narrative from you.  And that means if a naughty word is involved, paraphrasing is a really bad idea.

But do consider your audience.  This is not everybody who possibly could read your paper, but those for whom it is intended.  If your audience, for instance, is junior high students, then using any naughty words whatsoever is probably not going to be appropriate, no matter how you try to sanitize them.   

But consider everybody.  There are those who really take offense to naughty words, especially those naughty words that are tied to religion, and they won’t find “GD” any less offensive.  And if you offend your readers, there’s a good chance you won’t have any… readers, that is.  Instead of convincing them that the president is an asshole, the only person they’re going to think that of is you.

Remember, nobody’s going to notice if you don’t use naughty words, but everybody’s going to notice if you do.

 

12:04 pm pdt 

Word of the Every So Often

tantamount:  (adj.)  the same as or equal to.  Your saying you don’t remember everything you did and said last night is tantamount to your admitting your idiocy.  

10:56 am pdt 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Word of the Every So Often

construe:  (verb)  to interpret; to explain the meaning.  We construed that the politicians only wanted our votes and would say anything to get them.

11:36 am pdt 

Trivia!

Before 1614 it was impossible to go crazy because the word hadn't been invented yet.  It's weird to think that words have to be invented, but they do. 

11:30 am pdt 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Word of the Every So Often

credence:  (noun)  the acceptance of something as true; trust.  You should not give anyone credence who doesn’t think Credence Clearwater Revival is a great band.

3:52 pm pst 

Quick Rule:  Compounds

English has a lot of compound words in it (it comes from its German heritage).  Therefore, if there is any question at all whether two separate words, such as “dog” and “house,” should be a compound word, then join them.  If you are wrong, when you do spell check, it should catch your mistake.  However, if you don’t join them, and they should be one, then spell check will not catch it. 

A bit of a warning, though.  There are several combinations of words in the English language that can be both.  For instance, you can have common sense, but not going the wrong way on an exit ramp is a commonsense thing to do, and if you are cast away, then you can become a castaway.  It all depends on how you are using the word (common sense: noun, commonsense: adjective; cast away: verb & prepostion; castaway: noun).  Me?  I’d use a dictionary to be sure.

3:50 pm pst 

Today’s Deep Thought:

You can get away with a whole lot if you are consistent.  

3:48 pm pst 


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