Monday, October 30, 2017
10:14 am pdt
The Average Guy
A student recently mentioned "the average guy" on a paper, and it got me wondering: What
is an average guy? So I googled it, and I found out that the average guy is a Chinese Christian named Muhammad
who has less than an eighth grade education and makes less than three thousand dollars a year. In short, it's not you.
Friday, October 27, 2017
10:38 am pdt
The "Period Test"
Commas driving you crazy? Then try the "Period Test." Just follow that friendly hyperlink. But be forewarned: The
"Period Test" only works if you already understand what a Complete Sentence is.
Monday, October 23, 2017
1:52 pm pdt
be" is one of the most misused phrases in current American English usage. If you start listening for it, you will
hear it all around you. It's especially obvious with sportscasters, who are not widely known for their ability to speak
coherently, and especially without using clichés.
Using "would" is fine if you are asking a question: Would you like to go
to the Prom?
if you are creating a conditional statement: You would... but not with me.
Basically, a conditional statement is one that
would be true, but only under certain circumstances. Notice how I used "would" twice above, and each
time it was followed by "but" (what I like to call a "but" clause). Pretty much, you're saying,
"If this would happen, then this would be the result." Or, you can turn it around: "It would be
this, if this were to happen." Or even, "This would be the case, but these things keep it from happening."
Here's the test for using
- First, ask yourself if the conditions
have changed. For instance, is this something you used to do, but for whatever reason you no longer do? If that
is the case, then use "would."
- If the conditions have not
changed – in other words, if it something you still like doing – then don't use "would."
- Replace it with "is" (or whatever the conjugation might be). If "is"
or "was" or "were" will work there, then it's probably the word you should use.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Is a soft, warm fact less true than a cold, hard fact?
4:24 pm pdt