the English You Will Ever Need
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
(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.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
2:13 pm pdt
If a product says it contains natural flavours... what does that mean? If my soda,
say, has cherry flavour in it, all that really means is that "cherry" is a "flavour" that is found naturally...
well... in nature. We'll worry about redundancies later. Therefore, anything that hasn't
been produced by humans can be considered to have a "natural" flavour. It tastes that way with
no help from us, aside, perhaps, from the occasional manipulation of DNA by intrepid scientists. Along
those lines, chromium would not be a natural flavour. Crude oil, on the other hand, would
be a natural flavour, but gasoline would not. Water would be a natural flavour (and, yes, water has a flavour),
but Coca-Cola (to use a random example) would be an unnatural flavour.
But here's the thing:
Just because a product says it contains "natural flavours," even if the product itself is inherently unnatural,
doesn't mean that any of those natural flavours are actually in it... at least, not the real thing. For
instance, if one of those intrepid scientists can make crude oil taste like cherries, then the Coca-Cola Company (still using
a random example) could put that sludge in a Coke, call that mixture a Cherry Coke, and claim it was made with "natural
flavours." And they wouldn't be lying, especially if they had their fingers crossed behind their backs,
which is a legal defense in several states, and, especially, the District of Columbia.
But, hey! Don't take
my word for it. Buy a Cherry Coke (once again to use a random example) and read the ingredients. Nowhere at
all does it ever say that an actual cherry came anywhere close to that bottle, unless you happened to walk through
the produce department on your way to the checkout. So drink up and enjoy that bottle of water, high fructose corn syrup,
caramel colour, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and, of course, all those natural flavours. And while you're doing so, try
and figure out just, exactly, what colour "caramel" is.
Monday, October 1, 2018
12:45 pm pdt
To connote is to imply a meaning or a condition. To
denote is to define it exactly. For instance, the inscription on the cave connotes that there may be a
ferocious beast inside. The name badge on the dragon denotes that she is, indeed, that ferocious beast.