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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

June 22, 2018 

wanker:  (noun)  an insult, meaning somebody who masturbates.  They're politicians.  What do you expect from a bunch of wankers?

 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"[God] is not an insurance agent."  H.G. Wells, from War of the Worlds
8:23 am pdt 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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Ockham, without his razor 

 

5:48 pm pdt 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Today's Educational Words of Wisdom

The best way to get better at anything is to first stop saying that you aren't any good at it.  Positive thinking matters.  A lot.  When you start off by saying you're not very good at something, you've already given yourself an excuse for doing poorly.  In essence, you are already planning on doing badly.  And if you plan on doing badly, you will. 

9:28 am pdt 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Redundancy and the Needless Repetition of Words

redundant:  (adj.)  wordy; verbose; long-winded; prolix; flowery; rambling; overly extensive wordage; drawn out; garrulous; chatty; loquacious; effusive; demonstrative; vociferous;  talkative; prolonged; protracted; expanded; lengthened; superfluous; extra; excessive; not required; surplus; unneeded; unnecessary; and uncalled for. 

Redundancies come in many forms, just like there are many words that mean the same thing as "redundant."  In its simplest form, it is stating anything that truly isn't necessary, and the Golden Rule for good writing is:  If it's not necessary, then it shouldn't be there.  And that's why redundancies really need to be avoided. 

In addition, being redundant can make your reader question your vocabulary.  I mean, seriously, if you don't know that "recapitulate" means the same thing as "over and over," then how much should I trust you to know about the international commodities market?  Think of it this way:  You are trying to get me to change my mind in your paper, but I don't want to change.  Nobody does.  So I'm looking for a reason to ignore you.  Anything will do.  Being redundant makes it easy to ignore you.  Yeah, you may be ignored regardless, but don't make it easy.

As well, saying something like "hemorrhage or the increased loss of blood" can be downright funny, and it's never good when your reader is laughing and your paper is supposed to be serious.  Being redundant can also look like you are trying to make a short paper longer (which is usually very obvious).  And redundancies can really be confusing (such as "associational organizations" – just what the heck does that mean?). 

The following hyperlink will take you to some of the more common "forms" of redundancies.

11:47 am pdt 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Many Stops Do Not Follow

Punctuation matters.  While waiting on a bus the other day, I saw one of those three-wheeled traffic enforcement vehicles putter by me.  On the back of that vehicle was the following notice:  "Many Stops Do Not Follow."  Perhaps it's because I teach English, but I couldn't help but think that, perhaps, just maybe, that notice could've used some clarifying punctuation.  If they are wanting to let me know that the vehicle makes a lot of stops, and that following too closely might be a problem, then they needed something after the word "Stops."  A period, a dash, even a comma would've worked.  As it is, they are telling me that while that vehicle might be making a few stops, it will not be making many:  These (many stops) do not follow.

10:33 am pdt 

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