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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

December 14, 2018 

albedo:  (noun)  the light reflected off a surface, usually that of a planet or moon, measured on a scale of zero to one, zero being completely non-reflective (such as black), and one being completely reflective (such as a mirror).  Sir, we're going to have to ask you to put on your hat.  The albedo off of your head is disturbing the other fans.

 

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Friday, January 23, 2015

ClichésThink About It!

There are phrases we’ve all heard all our lives and even used as if they made sense, but then when we think about them, they really don’t make any sense at all, like the phrase, “Think about it.” 

When you tell somebody to “think about it,” you are implying that the person currently is not thinking about it.  And what somebody is thinking is the one thing you cannot know.  Ever.  Either that, or you could be implying  that person is an idiot incapable of thinking. 

And then there’s the added phrase, “Stop and think about it.”  Is it really necessary that I stop whatever I might be doing in order to think?  And if so, will stopping really help me?

What it comes down to is that when you say, “Think about it,” what you are actually saying is all that is necessary to prove your point of view is my “thinking about it.”  Documented proof – actual evidence – is not necessary.  And if you stop and think about, rarely is that ever the case.

1:25 pm pst 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

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10:55 am pst 

Shifting Focus

The focus of a sentence is whom you are addressing.  Are you speaking specifically to your reader, or are you addressing people in general?  And that generally comes down to pronouns – First person is specific; Third person is general.  I want you to stop teasing cats, as opposed to People need to stop teasing cats.  Which you use truly depends on the overall purpose of your paper, on what is the best way to get across your message.  The thing is, whichever you choose, you need to stay there.  Consider the following example: 

If individuals want to avoid getting a DUI, then you shouldn’t drink and drive.

“Individuals” is addressing people in general, but “you” is speaking specifically to me.  In other words, if I were not to drink and drive, then nobody on the planet would have to worry about getting a DUI.

A simple rule to remember is that when using the word “You,” you are not talking about people in general.  You are speaking specifically to me.

10:54 am pst 


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