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Archive for June 30th, 2009

An entry for our “Fun with Headlines” category … the iGoogle news headline for this story is:

“Students shot at Detroit bus stop”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

students shot at bus stop

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Last month, we started a series: Nouns gone bad … and this month, we added: Nouns gone bad … sequeled.

Remember, nouns gone bad are those words that originated as nouns and are now being used, with some regularity, as verbs.

We have some new entries to our list of nouns gone bad:

  • Clorox: we Cloroxed our drains to ward off the summer bugs.
  • journal: Jonathan was journaling the other day.
  • board: she (snow)boarded on her last vacation.
  • game. as in the following headline:

“Can Open Government Be Gamed?”

gamed

(click here for the story)

Have more examples? Please send them to us (after checking out our previous posts).

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Today, by a news item about some celebrity being “outed,” we were reminded that not only nouns can be turned into verbs … so can adverbs

Therefore, we have the opportunity to introduce the third in our sequence: “badverbs.”

Per the Urban Dictionary, “outed” has a few definitions, the most common of which has to do with disclosure of the fact that someone is gay. However, the terms “outing” and “outed” have become mainstream words for disclosing information other than homosexuality, about individuals — and organizations. Plus, it can mean just being excluded.

A few years ago, there was a lot of press around the revelation that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. She was “outed.” Earlier this month, we read an article about Judge Sonia Sotomayor being “financially outed.” Then, there are frequently articles about the “outing” of political and religious views, among people who are heterosexual. So, the concept is expanding and evolving.

What other adverbs are badverbs? We discovered a couple and thought we’d share them with you:

  • forward: did you forward that email to anyone else?
  • should: we make it a practice not to should on anyone.

As we were researching for this blog post, we realized that there is likely yet another category we should explore … “badjectives.” However, when we started on this quest, we found that most of the adjectives for this group would come to this list by having ” …ize” added to them. Now, that is a-whole-nother subject. Stay tuned.

Be sure to see our related posts:

Sources: Urban Dictionary, dictionary.com, Wikipedia

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A while back, we wrote a post called “Breaking with the past …” in which we explored some rules for and exceptions to forming the past tense, especially with the “… ink” words.

Last night, we saw a TV commercial … for SLIMQUICK™ … that riled us up again.

slimquick

Here’s the quote from the not-so-slim cartoon woman on the TV ad … she says to/about her slimming male counterpart:

“We’re trying to lose weight, so we cut out junk food. I shrunk one size. He shrunk six sizes.”

Goodness! This is slim (actually, grim) grammar. Come on, the past tense of shrink is shrank

Just to make sure we heard correctly, we replayed the spot several times, in disbelief. Why are we always so shocked at advertising grammar goofs? (click here to see another example) After all, an advertising great (copywriter for such brands as Hanes, Walmart, Discover, and eTrade) once wrote to us, and we quote, “… honestly, grammar doesn’t mean much in advertising.” Still, it ruffles our feathers when we hear companies allow such blatant English language slaughter on the TV airwaves (and cable). Maybe our consolation must be that if there are not these gaffes, we wouldn’t have much to blog about?

Your thoughts?

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We love the health site, The People’s Pharmacy. Not only do they offer wonderful tips for safe and healthy living, their headlines often provide great fodder for our “Fun with Headlines” blog posts. For example, one of today’s headlines reads:

“Novel Technique for Zapping Mosquitos”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

novel technique

Let’s look at our word of the day: novel.

1. novel. noun.

  • a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.
  • the literary genre represented by novels.

2. novel. adjective.

  • of a new kind; different from anything seen or known before: a novel idea. 

3. novel. noun.

  • Roman Law. a. an imperial enactment subsequent and supplementary to an imperial compilation and codification of authoritative legal materials.  b. Usually, Novels, imperial enactments subsequent to the promulgation of Justinian’s Code and supplementary to it: one of the four divisions of the Corpus Juris Civilis.
  • Civil Law. an amendment to a statute.

Source: dictionary.com

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