Monthly Archives: July 2011

The 3 dots (…)


The 3 dots constitute a common punctuation device that most people don't understand. They're called an "ellipsis".


According to Wikipedia:  Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: แผ”λλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short") is a series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.


The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (…) or a pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…). 


When an ellipsis comes at the end of a sentence — rather than in the middle of a thought — a fourth dot is added to indicate "stop".


Nobody should string together anymore than four dots; not five, six, seven, or more. It just shows that the writer doesn't know anything about proper punctuation or the meaning of the dots.                                                                  




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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized




This seems to be a variation or contraction of "gonna," which is an unapproved contraction of "going to" [do something].


It's what Lucinda Scala Quinn recently said on one of her "Mad Hungry" cooking shows…"I'm just goina…."


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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


Standard Sports Interview


First question: "Tell me what this means to you and how you feel right now?"


Answer:  "I mean…" — (the first words before anything is often asked or answered) OR

"y'know I mean…"


"…just one game at a time"


"I'm really excited."


"I'm ready to go."


"y'know…you know…"YOU know…"


"I'm just trying to stay focused."


"It was a team effort."


BRILLIANT and CAPTIVATING!  These performers are paid multi-millions, yet they sound like they couldn't get a job shoveling snow. And their comments are playing over and over and over on network and cable TV.


Tennis great Boris Becker is the only sports figure I can think of who had smart, thoughtful, sincere comments whenever he was interviewed. He never sounded like a programmed dummy.


What's wrong with this picture?



Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


Watering Mouth


What in the world is this about…people who say, "My mouth is watering…" when they cook, see, or think about food?


I'm an aggressive hobbyist cook and "foodie," but my mouth has never watered while preparing or thinking about food, raw or cooked…anywhere anytime.


Is there some biological thing that I can't experience; or is this watering-mouth phenomenon merely a fantasy or euphemism for something else?


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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in Uncategorized




How did we get this illegitimate contraction of "going to"…verbal laziness?


It's another way to make us sound dull and stupid.                                          



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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


Snooty Language


This situation is probably a matter of terminology rather than grammar; but I think it deserves a place here.


“problems” vs. “issues”…"Issues” seems to be fashionable terminology that has crept into our language as though it’s interchangeable with “problems”. WRONG. “Problems” are problems, and “issues” are issues. A broken arm is a problem; what to do about it is an issue. 


How, when, and why did this happen? It's ridiculous.


When some player is removed from a game for physical injuries, he isn't removed for ISSUES; he's removed because of physical PROBLEMS. 


What to do about the problem or problems is the issue.


HENCE, fashionable language aside…problems and issues are different things!  Stop trying to be so linguistically snooty.

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Reason for Dismissal


I received a distressing note this morning from a very smart businessman, a board member for an important technology company. This is what he said:


Yesterday I received an email from our new Controller at the office.  She is 35+ with an accounting degree.  Her email was "Can me and you get together when you come in Tuesday to discuss yata yata yata".


Such ignorant language from a professional person is, in my book, totally unacceptable. If this person's language skills weren't evident in the hiring process, I would dismiss the person summarily.


Stupid, bad English has no place in a serious business environment.          


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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Blog Reactions

One of my two German friends responded by sending me this link for a hilarious video about Grammar Nazis:


Just beware the dangling participle!  smiley


Other more serious, encouraging responses came from four divergent friends:


From Didi in Brazil:

Looks great, Denny! I love the logo font, and the theme is definitely relevant to discuss. I wish I could find and send you an article I read just a couple days ago about how the oversimplification of vocabulary is reducing our ability to understand small but important nuances in our society (e.g., the difference between "murder" and "homicide").


From Domi in Germany:

I love the idea. 


Wasn´t it Petrus Stuyvesand, the first mayor of New York who voted for English as the future language for the New country called America?


If he made his cross on the other option, we both would speak German today ๐Ÿ˜‰


Take Care



From Laura at the UofM:

I love the idea! I think there are a lot of people that share your concerns about the state of language usage. To some degree, yes, language must be a living, changing organism—but we still need to communicate accurately!


I forwarded the video to the kid. Once you've got your blog up and running, I'll have to have her let her English major best friend (now in grad school) know about it.




From Sergey in Russia:

Great run and perfect idea! Here in Russia we also have problems with our language – some words was forgotten and there are a lot of mistakes… Will read your blog with pleasure!


Thanks for right work!




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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


“me” vs. “I” and “we” vs. “us”

There's something in the spoken English language that baffles me more than anything else. It's the mis-use of "me" and "I" when talking about something that happened.

At the risk of sounding like a seventh-grade English teacher…"Me" is an object word; "I" is a subject word.

This means that you can give or tell things to "me"…you can't give or tell things to "I".

For some strange linguistic reason, legions of well-educated Americans think that proper English must include "I" when paired with someone else. For example, people who say, "Our parents invited Tom and I for a barbecue." If Tom hadn't been included, would that same person say, "Our parents invited I for a barbecue"?
Of course not…"Our parents invited Tom and ME for a barbecue."

One of the major NFL sportscasters, describing the action during a game, said "Between he (the quarterback) and the receiver…." Totally wrong. Correct version is, "Between him and the receiver…."

The same principle applies to "we" and "us"…"we" is a subject word, and "us" is an object word.

A prominent PBS radio host recently said, "You know, the eel is not the most appealing fish, especially for "we" Americans. OMG…bad grammar on public broadcasting!

She should have said "us" Americans. The word "we" is a subject word (like he, she, they, or I) that starts a sentence. The word "us" is an object word (like him, her, me, or them) that completes a sentence to finish a thought or statement.

It's stupid. Why can't well-educated people get this simple bit of grammar right?


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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Uncategorized