Monthly Archives: August 2011

Note to Chris Evert


You were a great champion, but…


The U.S. Open isn't even half over today; and you have already used up your quota of "y'know"s!  It seems to be your weakest stroke — a reliance on lame verbal punctuation.

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


Note to the Brothers McEnroe




A reminder:  There's a "t" in the word "mentally". Try saying it. You can do it!  

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized




3 not 2


"family" is a 3-syllable word, not 2

"company" is a 3-syllable word

"different" is a 3-syllable word

"difference" is a 3-syllable word

"favorite" is a 3-syllable word

"theater" is a 3-syllable word

"memory" is a 3-syllable word

"insurance" is a 3-syllable word

"medicine" is a 3-syllable word


Mispronunciation of these nine words always grates on my nerves…makes the hair on my neck stand out.


It's common suburban-mother-speak to extoll the virtues of "faamlee" in a whiney, shrill voice. Likewise the less-common "comp'ny" when talking about businesses. And to hear someone say "differnt" or "fave-ert" or "fave-rit" or "theeter" or "memry" is appalling. To hear Texans say "INshernce" is probably not surprising, however quirky. But hearing the Brits (gold standard English-speakers) pronounce "medcine" is very troubling.


They are all 3-syllable words; let's do our best to articulate…hear the syllables in proper pronunciation. "What is a syllable?" you ask. Dictionary definition below for your convenience; even though it doesn't help my understanding — and probably doesn't do much for yours, either!


Take particular note of the television commercials for products made by SC Johnson, a household products company in Wisconsin. The audio sting at the end of each spot says, "SC Johnson, a family company," often mispronouncing BOTH of our target words.



a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; e.g., there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized






This is probably the wimpiest thing that you can say about something you're eating. Have you run out of good adjectives? Or don't you even possess a vocabulary? We hear it all the time when diners are interviewed on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."


Does it mean that something is merely okay…not really bad, but not especially good, not worth getting excited about, not worth eating again?


Unfortunately, we also often hear top-notch chefs describe something as tasty. If that's the best they can say about their creations, I'm not biting.


Tasty?!  Of course, everything is tasty. Even water.


But is it good tasty or bad tasty. Or are you only able to taste it…no opinion?


Useless word!   

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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Little League World Series


"It looks like they might have somethin' goin'".


Brent Musburger is one of the best sports commentators around. But his bad grammar and pronunciation during the Little League World Series championship today is always troublesome. Why? Because it perpetuates his words among an impressionable audience.            

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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Cowboys vs. Vikings


"More Brighter"


Tonight's NFL exhibition game between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings kicked off with local KARE11 sports dude Randy Shaver saying, "It's so much MORE BRIGHTER in here" after the Metrodome roof was replaced.


Another example of sports dumbness. Good English just seems out of reach for these guys.

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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


“premise” vs. “premises”


Notice to dumbasses of the world!


These are two of the most commonly misunderstood words in the English language; they're even used incorrectly in trade publications — by "professional" writers and editors, as well as on signage. The difference is very simple, so there should be no confusion.


premise A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.


premises 1. Land and the buildings on it.

                  2. A building or part of a building.


The word "premises" is not a plural for "premise." Get over it…get with the program! Smarten-up your language skills — editors and everybody else!    


Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Disappearance of “very”


Is "really" the same as "very"…really?


It seems that nobody ever uses this word anymore; it has been replaced by "really." And we hear everybody peppering their language with "really"…really good, really big, really smart, really cold, really hungry, really really really….


The amazing thing about this disappearance of "very" is that it has several definitions — as an adverb and as an adjective. It's very useful. Or you might even say, really useful.


Why have we replaced it with "really" in our daily discourse?       

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Dueling Banjos


Another delightful response from a longtime friend and advertising professional:


I are a frekwent youser of the english, sew, ime intrissted in wotever yew hav to offer.


Yauer lowgo is reely kniftee!                         

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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Voting for Best Blog

Voting is open until September 9th.


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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized