Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2009

Fun with headlines today …

An iGoogle wikiHow headline reads:

“How to Choose Drumsticks”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

choose drumsticks

We suggest using the “Flavor Finder” to choose your drumsticks! Yummy.

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

This week, on Twitter, we corrected a tweet …

from:

“Proper grammar and punctuation is a turn on.”

to:

@GrammarCops: Proper grammar and punctuation ARE a turn on 🙂

This led to an interesting Twitter conversation with one of our Followers (Tweeps). It went something like this …

@mergyeugnau: But where is the punctuation at the end of that sentence? *heartbroken* 

@GrammarCops: Isn’t the 🙂 acceptable Twitter punctuation? Just like some dot an i with a heart  … can’t we use a 🙂 as a period? Reprieve?

@mergyeugnau: I will accept it as your custom in the future. What is the equivalent of a neologism – a neoregulism perhaps?

@GrammarCops: NEOPUNCTISM

@mergyeugnau:  I think that ‘neopunctism’ is the correct word for a subset of grammatical ‘neoregulisms’ that is specific to punctuation.

We just wanted to share with you this excellent example of neologism, and introduce you to a few neowords of the day:

NEW

neologism. noun.

  • a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.
  • the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.
  • a new doctrine, esp. a new interpretation of sacred writings.
  • Psychiatry. a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics.

neoregulism. noun.

  • a new law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority (such as Grammar Police a.k.a. GrammarCops, their Deputies and/or Twitter Followers), esp. to regulate grammar or conduct.
  • the introduction or use of new regulations or the state of being neoregulated.
  • Thanks to @mergyeugnau

neopunctism. noun.

  • a new punctuation mark or punctuation usage.
  • the introduction or use of new punctuation or new senses of existing punctuation.
  • a new precept, esp. a new interpretation of sacred punctuation.
  • Twittery. a new punctuation mark or usage, often consisting of a combination of other punctuation marks, that may only be understood only by the Twitterer: occurring most often in the text of schizophrenic Twitterers.

Sources: Twitter (esp. @mergyeugnau and @GrammarCops), dictionary.com

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

We are really having trouble with this iGoogle CNN headline:

“Couple who adopted 12 children found slain”

(click here to to read the story)

We’re not going to make up a funny photo for this one, however:

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

“A couple adopted twelve dead children”

The original headline could use some treatment …

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

A reader writes …

“There has been so much funeral coverage on TV lately … I am wondering, what is the difference between a coffin and a casket?”

Good question. We did some research on this in 1997, so here’s a chance to add to that and relate our findings to you.

Many times, especially in the United States, the terms are used interchangeably. In Europe, we find the distinction is made more frequently.

Per several authoratative funeral sources …

A coffin is wider at the shoulder and tapers toward the feet. This shape was employed to save on the cost of wood as there was no need for width all the way to the bottom. This style is still found in Europe today. Coffins are sometimes very simple pine boxes, unlined and unadorned. Fancier coffins are lined, have a coffin plate of brass or silver with the deceased’s name and dates and sometimes a sentiment, and have three metal handles on either side for the six pallbearers to grasp on the way to the grave.

Princess Diana’s burial container is a traditional, tapered, heavy oak, flag-draped coffin.

diana coffin

06 September 1997

 

A casket originally referred to (and is defined in the dictionary as) a small chest for storing and carrying jewels or precious objects. A burial casket is a rectangular container of the same width from top to bottom. It is generally padded and lined, and goes into the ground after the grave has been lined with a vault. A casket usually opens at the top so the head and shoulders of the deceased may be viewed at the wake, and has the customary three handles on either side for pallbearers.

Michael Jackson’s burial container was a fancy, rectangular, gold-plated, solid bronze, velvet-lined casket.

michael casket

07 July 2009

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

SPAM

(click here to read about SPAM®)

From The Writer’s Almanac 7-5-09

It was on this day in 1937 that SPAM came onto the market. The canned meat product from Hormel Foods Corporation was given its name by a contest winner; the prize for his ingenuity was $100. On one  occasion, a Hormel spokesperson said the name was short for ‘Shoulder of Pork and Ham’; on another, a company official said it was a conflation of the words ‘spice and ham.’ All sorts of parodic acronyms have circulated over the years, including ‘Something Posing As Meat.’ The  original recipe, still sold as the ‘Classic’ flavor, contains pork shoulder and ham meat, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate. There’s a gelatinous glaze on top, which forms like that after the broth cools down.

Spam sold in the Americas is mostly produced in Austin, Minnesota — ‘Spam Town USA’ and home of the SPAM  museum. Hawaii’s residents consume more Spam per capita than the residents of any other state, and the canned meat has been nicknamed ‘The Hawaiian Steak.’ Spam is the main course in the Israeli Defense Force’s combat meal kits, but the pork is replaced by beef so that it’s kosher.

There’s a Monty Python sketch that came out in 1970 where the actors go into a cafe; and try to order breakfast, but almost everything on the menu contains Spam. One woman doesn’t want Spam in her breakfast and gets into an argument with the waitress, who tells her that the menu consists of ‘Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam.’ It’s from this Monty Python sketch that ‘spam’ acquired the use so familiar today: unwanted or unsolicited e-mail. The first recorded  use of the word in this way is in 1993. It’s also become a verb in the English language, for the action of sending out spam.

And the word ‘spam’ itself, untranslated, is now a noun in French, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. The verb ‘to spam’ in German is ‘spammen’; in Czech the verb is ‘spamovat’;  and in Italian it’s ‘spammare.’ There’s a new Monty Python’s musical, SPAMALOT, currently playing in San Francisco.

And now, for our word of the day:

Spam. noun, verb, spammed, spamming.

1. Trademark. a canned food product consisting esp. of pork formed into a solid block.

–noun 2. (lowercase) a disruptive, esp. commercial message posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.

–verb (used with object) 3. (lowercase) to send spam to.

–verb (used without object) 4. (lowercase) to send spam.
——————————————————————————–

Origin: (def. 1) sp(iced) + (h)am; 1990–95; referring to a comedy routine on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Brit. TV series.

Be sure to see our related posts:

Sources: The Writer’s Almanac, dictionary.com

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

Welcome to the fourth in our ongoing series …

  1. Nouns gone bad …
  2. Nouns gone bad … sequeled
  3. Badverbs … cousins to nouns gone bad

Introducing, Verbalized … a new section in which we will grammaticalize (est. origin 1935-40) the modern use of the suffix “-ize” to make (traditionally) non-verbs into verbs.

Let’s get some of the technical stuff out of the way first … per dictionary.com:

verbalize. verb. 

  •  to convert into a verb: Many English nouns have become verbalized.

ize a verb-forming suffix occurring originally in loanwords from Greek that have entered English through Latin or French (baptize; barbarize; catechize); within English, -ize is added to adjectives and nouns to form transitive verbs with the general senses “to render, make” (actualize; fossilize; sterilize; Americanize), “to convert into, give a specified character or form to” (computerize; dramatize; itemize; motorize), “to subject to (as a process, sometimes named after its originator)” (hospitalize; terrorize; galvanize; oxidize; simonize; winterize). Also formed with -ize are a more heterogeneous group of verbs, usually intransitive, denoting a change of state (crystallize), kinds or instances of behavior (apologize; moralize; tyrannize), or activities (economize; philosophize; theorize).

Usage note:
The suffix -ize has been in common use since the late 16th century; it is one of the most productive suffixes in the language, and scores of words ending in -ize are in daily use.
Some words ending in -ize have been widely disapproved in recent years, particularly finalize (first attested in the early 1920s) and prioritize (around 1970). Such words are most often criticized when they become, as did these two, vogue terms, suddenly heard and seen everywhere, especially in the context of advertising, commerce, education, or government—forces claimed by some to have a corrupting influence upon the language. The criticism has fairly effectively suppressed the use of finalize and prioritize in belletristic writing, but the words are fully standard[ized] and occur regularly in all varieties of speech and writing, especially the more formal types.
The British spelling, -ise, is becoming less common in British English, especially in technical or formal writing, chiefly because some influential British publishers advocate or have adopted the American form ize.

For the purposes of this article, and for our faithful following Brits, know that we hereby allow the substitution of the form “-ise” for “-ize,” … without limitation.

Now, we realize that this practice has been in effect for ages, however, certain readers have prodded us (thanks, mom!) to explore the more recent preponderance, and seemingly lazy application of this custom. We will build on the two examples in the usage note above: finalize (est. origin 1920-25) and prioritize (est. origin 1965-70), asserting that any English language trend since 1920 (at least) is, in our terms, modern.

When researching for this post, one source returned a list of more than 500 words containing “ize.” Another source gave us 1128 “-ize” words. Just know that we will only focus on those words in which the suffix “-ize” is used to verbalize. And, we will, with your help and contributions, acquaint you with some “-ize” words that have not yet been dictionaryized.

 simonize
  • computerize (est. origin 1955-60)
  • criminalize (est. origin 1955-60)
  • digitize (est. origin 1950-55)
  • glamorize (est. origin 1935-40)
  • winterize (est. origin 1925-30)
  • notarize (est. origin 1925-30)
  • globalize (est. origin 1940-45)
  • fantasize (est. origin 1925-30)
  • televise (1925-30)
  • customize (est. origin 1930-35)
  • stalinize (est. origin 1920s)
  • publicize (est. 1925-30)
  • randomize (est. origin 1925-30)
  • prioritize (est. origin 1965-70)
  • accessorize (est. origin 1935-39)
  • collateralize (est. origin 1940-45)
  • compartmentalize (est. origin 1920)
  • contextualize (est. origin 1930-35)
  • conveyorize (est. origin 1940-45)
  • fictionalize (est. origin 1920-25)
  • fractionalize (est. origin 1930-35)
  • miniaturize (est. origin 1945-50)
  • parameterize (est. origin 1935-40)
  • privatize (est. origin 1945-50)
  • simonize (est. origin 1935-40)

By the way, here’s a bit about our pictured example: simonize

simonize. verb. to shine or polish to a high sheen, esp. with wax: to simonize an automobile. Simonize is actually the generic term, which came after Simoniz, a trademark. Thanks to PizzaBagel for the photo.

A few that are in the dictionary but for which we could not determine their originating date:

  • commercialize
  • containerize
  • substiantialize
  • symptomize

Examples that you may not find in any mainstream dictionary:

  • budgetize
  • opinionize
  • seasonalize
  • Twitterize
  • calendarize
  • comprehensivize
  • quintessentialize
  • respectabilize
  • subjectivize
  • technicalize
  • technologize
  • transparentize
  • utopianize
  • vampirize

There is verbalizing for almost every country, state, city … i.e., when we moved last, we became Austinized again in this wonderful Texas capitol. Lots of organizations will “-ize” their employees … e.g., were you Dellized when you worked for the computer company? In addition, a virtually infinite number of brand names have the potential for “-izing,” and many have already been “-ized.” What are your examples?

Please help us build our list … we welcome your contributions.

Here’s one from dan_stiver: alterize

alterize

For our parting shot … if you want to please at least one mom out there, exercise the non-ized versions of these terms and concepts. We dare you!

Be sure to see our related posts:

Sources: dictionary.com, RhymeZone, wordnavigator.com, PizzaBagel (No, He’s Not!)

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

Rarely do we come across non-original material that we feel compelled to post … here’s something that’s going around in email of-late. We think it’s clever and we want to pass it along. Enjoy!

governmentium

HEAVIEST ELEMENT DISCOVERED

Research has led to discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that normally takes less than a second to take as long as 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neurons and deputy neurons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes more morons to become neurons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, which has half as many peons but twice the number of morons.

Tweet Me from https://grammarcops.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts