Monthly Archives: August 2011



"in" vs. "into"


We often hear cooking-show hosts tell you to pop something "in" the oven. Probably the only thing that you can pop "in" the oven is popcorn. What they should be saying is to pop something (chicken, cake, pie, etc.) "into" the oven.


"In" designates a place, a location. "Into" describes an action; it's directional.


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Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Sports Bravado


Hearing the TV sports loudmouths — on ESPN and Fox —  shouting at each other, every day, wall-to-wall, saying…




"Let me tell ya'…"

"I've gotta' tell ya'…"

"I promise ya'…"

"I'll tell ya what…"

"cummin up…"


These "dudes" are just a bunch of wind bags with little to contribute to anybody's serious big picture or things that are important — except to feed a mind-dumb sports culture sitting passively on the couch, sucking up anything that passes by. Verbal arrogance!


Where are the smart guys when we need them…especially Tony Dungy and Bob Costas; but also the legendary Howard Cosell?

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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


Classic Nonsense


Classic Schmassic


Golf and tennis promoters are the guilty goofs here; they continue to call their various tournaments "Classic".


The NHL (super-macho National Hockey League) even did it with its popular event at Wrigley Field…professional hockey on an outdoor rink: "Winter Classic 2009". That's only two years ago, not enough time to qualify for "classic" status. And it was only an experiment.


I can understand the name "Classic" as part of a tournament name when the tournament has some history; but calling a NEW tournament a "classic" is the height of laziness and lack of naming imagination.


Maybe this tells us something about the "big cigars" who are behind these events…boring, erudite, stuffy, comfortable, full of themselves.


The ridiculousness of "Classic". True classics are earned, not declared.


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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


The “g” Factor


Why is it that so many males — especially sports commentators — insist on pronouncing their verbs without sounding the letter "g"?  Some women have even taken up the "music".


Examples: runnin', throwin', doin', catchin', talkin', thinkin', somethin', etc.


We have also seen it on promotional signage for the 2011 New York Mets baseball team:  "This year, we're goin' for broke!"


It's also common among golf commentators with their effete attitudes.


Is it because they're still trying to overcome some ridiculous 7th-grade adolescent shame about sounding articulate and smart…a reflection on their imagined manhood? If so, why have so many women jumped onto the bandwagon?


Get over it. If you have ever been fortunate enough to have a good education, start speaking and pronouncing your words like you didn't fail basic English class. Start talking like you have grown up and belong to the human race. Start sounding smart when you open your mouth. Articulate!


Real men, smart men — and women — are comfortable in their skins, and proud of their ability to speak properly. Let's find and use the "g" again!


Fact is, there's a large company that's proud to show its "ing".  Maybe that's a good start.


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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized




"amounts" vs. "numbers" and "less" vs. "fewer"


I often hear someone say "…a large amount of people…".  People don't come in amounts; they're not amounts. They're numbers, as in "numbers of people." The same can be said of trees in a forest…"a large number of trees."


When there are large "numbers" of people attending a big sporting event, they consume large "amounts" of beer.


Water, sand, oil, grain, wood, spinach, and other bulk items come in "amounts."


There is also no such thing as "less jobs." When we discuss things like jobs, the comparative word should be "fewer"…fewer jobs, not less jobs. Because jobs don't come in amounts; they come in numbers. And there is strength in numbers.

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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Uncategorized




Wow, another strange disparity of different meanings…"throwing".


I grew up knowing that "throwing" meant "hurling a ball" or "hurling rotten tomatoes" at or to somebody or something.


But we have also come to know someone who is "throwing" a PARTY. And we want to be there.


Of course, at some parties there's a lot of throwing going on, much to the dismay of  the host/hostess and anyone who has to clean up.



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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Power of Language


Since I'm a big believer in the importance — and power — of language, I want to share this link with you. It features evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel speaking at the TED Global conference in Scotland last month (July 2011). 


The name TED is a moniker for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Personal attendance at any TED conference around the world is very expensive; so we're fortunate to have access to so many smart ideas for free.


This talk is only 20 minutes long…"How language transformed humanity." Pagel not only gives us excellent information; but he speaks so well, without the classic cliches and verbal "punctuation" that have become insidious in this country. More than 82,000 (at the moment this is posted) people have already watched his presentation.


Enjoy. And those of you who cherish our language as I do can revel in the fact that we have a backer — an explanator — in high places!


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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


“…y’know what I mean?”


This is one of the dumbest expressions to come out of our language discourse in generations — including the urban version, "y'know what I'm say'n?"


I hate to imagine how it started; but when somebody is talking to me and he/she peppers the story with "y'know what I mean?"…I turn them off.


If I don't know what they mean, there is a BIG problem with their story.


They always blither-on and constantly say, "y'know what I mean?" or "y'know what I'm say'n?".


Of course, I'm not sure that they aren't convinced of my understanding; but rather they're using the lame phrase as verbal punctuation. Maybe this has some ethnic source, political correctness aside.


When somebody can't say WHAT THEY MEAN in simple terms, they should probably go back to elementary school where they can get remedial help.


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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


“healthy” vs. “healthful”


Thanks to an excellent suggestion from "Maggie," responding to my Wiley Coyote call for help…


Both words ("healthy" and "healthful") are adjectives. But "healthy" refers to the condition of a person, an organization, or a relationship. "Healthful," on the other hand, describes activities, practices, or behavior that contribute to good health…a healthy person, for instance.



adjective ( healthier , healthiest )

in good health: : feeling fit and healthy.

( of a part of the body) not diseased : healthy cells.

indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health : a healthy appetite | a healthy balanced diet.

(of a person's attitude) sensible and well balanced : a healthy contempt for authority.

figurative in a good condition : the family is the basis of any healthy society.

desirable; beneficial : healthy competition.

of a satisfactory size or amount : making a healthy profit.





having or conducive to good health : healthful methods of cooking vegetables. 


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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


“axe” and “axing” vs. “ASK”


Common but ridiculous.

I thought that this mispronunciation originated with some rural black people in America. But a very smart friend of mine recently attended a women's program here in town, which he described as an "excruciating hour" where some of the panelists kept "axing" questions.

Does "axe" know no racial, gender, educational, or geographic boundaries, or is there some insidious undercurrent that makes vocal people — even highly educated people — talk like this?


The verb is "ASK".  "Axe" is a noun. Start talking like you have at least a minimum command of our chosen language…ENGLISH.


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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized