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grammar books

Just a little ditty for your enjoyment …

Grammar is good.
And usage is too.
Together, they help you communicate.

Language is fun.
Words do abound.
L’il marks: they can “all” help (you) punctuate!

Spelling with letters;
Syntax; formation …
Sentences will help you concatenate.

Nouns, sometimes proper;
And verbs all have forms …
If only to help us to conjugate.

Constructing a sentence,
A phrase, or a question …
Please, just be sure not to desecrate.

Superlative adjectives,
And adverbs to modify …
Just some tools we may use to formulate.

Yes, there are rules,
For speaking and writing …
When followed well, help you not irritate.

We’re referring to English
In this, our short tribute …
For which we’ve found none to compensate.

So, back to our blog,
Or Twitter, or work …
Something to which you likely relate.

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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.

izea 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!)

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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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We have long been “Peppers” … fans of the 10, the 2, and the 4, the “King of Beverages” and “The Most Original Soft Drink Ever” … even basking in the soda pop celebrity of having met the owner of the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in … well, the world! Dublin, Texas (outside of Ft. Worth) is home to this plant that is the last holdout for pure cane sugar (instead of high fructose corn syrup) in their drinks. But, we digress …

This week, we were dismayed to hear a grammar goof in a TV commercial for the 23 flavors. The latest Dr Pepper “Trust me – I’m a Doctor” campaign may be a boost for Dr. Dre (rapper, record producer, actor) – their  spokesman, however, it has grammar protectors running for a remedy. Here’s the gaffe:

“Scientific tests prove … when you drink Dr. Pepper slow, the 23 flavors taste even better.”

Now, slow may produce hits for Dr. Dre, as he claims in this ad, and if we were, with an adjective, describing this tasteful treat, slow would be fine. In this case, though, the traditional and proper usage is slowly, the adverb.*

So, Dr Pepper and Dr. Dre, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Grammar (yes, there really is such a practitioner – click here to discover him).

We recommend prescriptive grammar, a couple of tablets (or a blackboard) and a sentence of “I will drink it slowly as community service, to avoid the GrammarGallows.

We will continue to “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4 o’clock” because, truly, “One Taste & You Get It” and “Dr Pepper, nothing better.” However, the “Dr’s Orders” to “Drink It Slow will not be on our prescription pad any time soon.  

While you’re reading … why not “Be a Pepper” and take a drink of “America’s Most Misunderstood Soft Drink” as it is “Good For Life” even if its grammar may not be.

Dr Pepper

* We anticipate receiving comments that the adverb form slow is widely accepted, and has been in use since about the 15th century … OK, we concede its use, but … let us have our fun, please … we like the traditional.

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A reader writes:

“Should I use ‘then‘ or ‘than‘ in this sentence? What is a hotter ticket ____ a ticket for the Elton John concert …”

Another reader wtires:

“I tell folks that ‘then‘ is time-related (‘back then‘ or ‘then we did that’); ‘than‘ is used to compare things (‘better than‘).”

This is a good tip.

We could really have fun and mess with the original question, thinking back to a wonderful time in music, by saying:

“What was a hotter ticket then than a ticket for the Elton John concert?”

We still follow the rule … using then to refer to time and than to compare.

Now, how about this little helpful tip/trick: Then rhymes with when (refers to time). Than has an a in it and so does compare.

then. adverb.
1. at that time: Prices were lower then. 
2. immediately or soon afterward: The rain stopped and then started again. 
3. next in order of time: We ate, then we started home. 
4. at the same time: At first the water seemed blue, then gray. 
5. next in order of place: Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother. 
6. in addition; besides; also: I love my job, and then it pays so well. 
7. in that case; as a consequence; in those circumstances: If you’re sick, then you should stay in bed. 
8. since that is so; as it appears; therefore: You have, then, found the mistake? You are leaving tonight then. 

then. adjective.
9. being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated: the then prime minister. 

then. noun
10. that time: We have not been back since then. Till then, farewell. 

than. conjunction
1. (used, as after comparative adjectives and adverbs, to introduce the second member of an unequal comparison): She’s taller than I am. 
2. (used after some adverbs and adjectives expressing choice or diversity, such as other, otherwise, else, anywhere, or different, to introduce an alternative or denote a difference in kind, place, style, identity, etc.): I had no choice other than that. You won’t find such freedom anywhere else than in this country. 
3. (used to introduce the rejected choice in expressions of preference): I’d rather walk than drive there. 
4. except; other than: We had no choice than to return home. 
5. when: We had barely arrived than we had to leave again. 

than. preposition
6. in relation to; by comparison with (usually fol. by a pronoun in the objective case): He is a person than whom I can imagine no one more courteous.

Source: Dictionary.com (see usage note)

UPDATE: We found this paragraph on a wikiHow article. It needs a “than” in place of an “as” because the writer is making a comparison. Take a look.

(click here for the real story)

“A recumbent bike is any bike where the rider is in a reclined position. These bikes are more comfortable to ride (once you get used to it!) and faster because of reduced wind resistance. However, there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to balancing, starting, stopping and maneuvering a recumbent bike (as there is with an upright bike) but once you nail it down, you’ll wonder why more people aren’t riding them!”

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We have recently noticed that, in a big wayway more advertisers are using a certain adverb way more than ever before. Now, we may not care a-way-lot, but, let’s weigh what it means nowadays to be way cool. We’ve come a long way. Used to be, from a long way back, to have your way with consumers, you could get away with way less of wayward grammatical use of English. The new way of promoting gets in the way of our best way of  the way we were built. Are we now aweigh of our ways? In the worst way! But, seems we must give way to way too many ways to compete. Anyway

In a way to conclude this brief diversion … seems there’s no two ways about it … Wendy’s (restaurant) is now: “Way Better. Way Later. Way Faster.” And, again, by the way, they are leading the way and laughing all the way to the bank.

Shall we now mend our ways and … BYE the WAY?

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A reader writes:

“Do you have an entry about whether one should use “toward” or “towards,” “backward” or “backwards,” etc. I’m always confused when it comes to those words.”

So, we will address this now.

Quoting Fowler: “toward, towards, towardly. The adjectives … are in all senses are obsolescent, or at any rate archaic, but untoward is still current. Of the prepositions the ~s form (towards) is the prevailing one, and the other tends to become literary on the one hand and provincial on the other.”

Toward that end, we will head towards the use of “Back words”

Again, quoting Fowler: “backward(s). As an adverb either form may be used; as an adjective backward only.”

In conclusion, we must admit some possible backward thinking in this area, as Grammar Police shall not ticket for going backwards or backward in direction.

Source: Fowler, H.W.. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965, pp 47, 644

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