Posts Tagged ‘blog’

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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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.


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 have been asked several times, “what’s your opinion on the Oxford (or serial) comma?” So, we’re going to cross-post an entry from our sister site: Comma Clout for our readers here …

From last week:

A lot of buzz around this issue today … Barrett got us blogging when he sent this tweet:

serial comma tweet


Per Wiki, the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma and the Harvard comma) is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (usually and, or, and sometimes nor) preceding the final item in a list of three or more items. More simply, as per AskOxford.com, the ‘Oxford comma’ is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list.

For example, this three-media list can be punctuated as either “Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter” (with the serial comma) or as “Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter” (without the serial comma).

There is no consensus among writers and editors on the usage or avoidance of the serial comma. Most American English authorities recommend its use, but it seems to be less frequent in British English. In many languages (e.g., French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish) the serial comma is not the norm; it may even be explicitly forbidden by punctuation rules – but it may be allowed or even recommended in some cases to avoid ambiguity or to aid understanding when reading.

Wikipedia actually has an excellent section on this topic. Take a look:

1 Arguments for and against
2 Ambiguity
3 Usage
4 References & External links

We have relaxed our own position on the use of the serial comma. Before text limits of 140 characters or thereabouts, we would insist, but now, we say lose any extra character you can while preserving meaning.

There are many views on this little mark. Click here to read one solution. What’s your view?

sources: Wikipedia, dictionary.com, AskOxford.com, Twitter

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Lately, we’ve been checking out some other grammar blogs. It really is amazing how much blogging is going on about our favorite subject. Anyway, this post is not about that … it’s about the discussion topic (job title) we encountered:

“Pre-owned Car Salesman”

(click here for the real story)

Our question is, “What’s/who’s pre-owned, the car or the salesman?” We may send this one over to Comma Clout for treatment.

preowned car salesman

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We loved this blog post from blacklab on SpeedGuide.net:

Logic and the English Language

And, we suggest you read it for our sequel to mean even more than it would on its own.

Anyway, here is our stab at a “part 2” of insights into our sometimes perplexing language:

  • A post is stationary, but you must post stationery to move it.
  • If two men are in the same place, why aren’t they togethim instead of together?
  • In a restaurant, wouldn’t we want our food brought to us by a rusher rather than a waiter?
  • If we deplane and detrain, why don’t we deboat and decar?
  • To force someone to give up, we say “you’re going down!”
  • How come when a gun is fired it’s working but when a person is fired he/she’s not working?
  • If “some” means unspecified but considerable in number, and “one” means a single unit or individual, isn’t the word “someone” contradictory?
  • Why do we drill down to get a close up?
  • Why do we put a towel on to dry off?
  • If profess means to declare openly, why is it considered professional to withhold information?

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We found another great source for grammar tips, so, we hereby pass it … on:

Kenneth’s ESL Blog

Today, we especially like his posts on prepositions:

Noun prepositions, and the Preposition Quiz


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Interesting question … I received this message from a fellow Twitterer:

Here’s one for your blog. Saw this tweet today.”Could care less about Susan Boyle. It’s cool that she can sing….but could still care less”


Mary James / Yelwrose

Great timing because I have been having a discussion recently with a friend about the use of “I could care less” vs. “I couldn’t care less.” We did a lot of research on this question in the past month … See: Daily Writing Tips: http://tinyurl.com/dapdxw, World Wide Words: http://tinyurl.com/dv5f5, and Language Log: http://tinyurl.com/cxfw5t, for starters …

Personally, we prefer the non-ambiguous version of this expression “I couldn’t care less!”

However, there are those who, on purpose, use the sarcastic slang version “I could care less!” to express their disinterest. We suggest that these users put themselves in peril of being relegated to a lower class of linguists.

Grammar Police would love to ticket those who choose the latter, however, this is one case in which we have chosen to place aside our personal preferences and prejudices and let these would-be violators loose. Actually, we could care less, but not much!

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