Posts Tagged ‘English’

The Ancients!

June 9, 2018

The ancients, i.e., the people who lived a very long time ago, especially Greeks or Romans, are not immune when it comes to the usage of oxymoronica.  Here are some of my favorites.

“Their very silence is a loud cry.”  (Cicero)

“Often silence is the wisest thing for a man to heed.”  (Pindar)

“Even if you persuade me, you won’t persuade me.”  (Aristophanes)

“Too much liberty leads both men and nations to slavery.”  (Cicero)

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s own ignorance.”  (Confucius)

“All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Source: oxymoronica by Dr. Mardy Grothe


The Cat and the Comma!

July 10, 2017

Once in a while you run across a joke that is a bit more intellectual than most.  And, when it includes a pun as well . . . ah, that’s just wonderful!  Here’s a joke that I discovered recently (please don’t groan too loudly).

Q: What is the difference between a cat and a comma?
A: One has claws at the end of its paws and the other is a pause at the end of a clause.


Grammar is Still Important!

October 20, 2014

Even with the explosion of social media and texting, using the right words is important (and spelling them out, no more shortcuts).  Don’t embarrass yourself by using any of the following goofs.    If you really don’t know the differences on when to use these variations, then take the time to look it up prior to using . . .  you will be glad you did.  This infographic should be a great help to get you started.


Courtesy of copyblogger and BlueGlass.

Let’s Get These Right!

January 16, 2013

pronounceWhen speaking, proper pronunciation is critical to how you are perceived by others.  Mispronounce any of the following words and rest assured, it will be noticed, and this is not the kind of notice that one should strive to gain.  Here’s a link to the original article from Prime Magazine (thank you Justin Brown, and thank you Keith F. for sharing the link with me).

Incorrect pronunciation: ath – a – leet
Correct pronunciation: ath – leet

Incorrect pronunciation: ex – cape / ex – presso / ex – set – err – uh
Correct pronunciation: ess – cape / ess – presso / ett – set – err – uh

Incorrect pronunciation: nuke – you – ler
Correct pronunciation: new – clee – er

Incorrect pronunciation: purr – scrip – shun / purr – og – uh – tiv
Correct pronunciation: pre – scrip – shun / pre – rog – uh – tiv

Incorrect pronunciation: up – most
Correct pronunciation: ut – most

Incorrect pronunciation: can – uh – det
Correct pronunciation: can – da – det

Incorrect pronunciation: sher – bert
Correct pronunciation: sher – bet

Incorrect pronunciation: awe – ree
Correct pronunciation: uh – rye

Incorrect pronunciation: “for all intensive purposes”
Correct pronunciation: “for all intents and purposes”

Incorrect pronunciation: off – ten
Correct pronunciation: off – en

And, being a librarian, I must add the following (Justin mentions it in his article [along with February and arctic], but doesn’t put it on his official list):

Incorrect pronunciation: lie – berry
Correct pronunciation: lie – brair – ee

Trouble Writing?

December 14, 2011

Here is a humorous list of rules (by Frank L. Visco) poking fun at writing to ensure that your writing is always well-written.  Stick to these rules and you’ll be okay.  There are a few Latin phrases to start with, do you know their translations?

Caveat emptor.
Carpe diem.
O si villi, si ergo, fortibus es in ero . . .
Et tu, brute.


by Frank L. Visco

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:
1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10.One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

And now for the translations . . .

Caveat empor = Let the buyer beware.
Carpe diem = Seize the day.
O si villi, si ergo, fortibus es in ero = No translation.  This is Dog Latin (see below).
Et tu, brute = And you, Brutus.

The fuller version of this phrase:
“O sibili si ergo! Fortibus es in aro. O nobili demis trux. Watis inem? Causand dux.”

The translation:
Oh, see, Billy!  See her go!  Forty buses in a row!  Oh, no, Billy!  Them is trucks!  What is in them?  Cows and ducks!”

Happy Humpday!

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

June 22, 2010

Here is a wonderful site (courtesy of the Newseum) that displays the front pages of 811 newspapers from around the world (74 different countries) — these numbers seem to change daily as new content is added.  It is certainly not an exhaustive collection, but impressive nonetheless.  Hover on a dot and the front page is displayed to the right; click on the dot and the frontpage opens in a new window.  You’ll never have to wonder what the headlines are to any of the major city newspapers ever again (and even some of the non-major cities).  This is very cool!  The only Oklahoma papers included (at this point) are the Norman Transcript, the Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), and the Tulsa World.

This could be a great way to practice reading in a foreign language.  However, noticeably absent from the holdings: French newspapers — there are none (yet?)!  There are also no papers from Greece or Poland.  And, if you are wanting to practice your Farsi, don’t pick the Iran Daily, it’s in English!  Surprisingly enough, there were actually 4 or 5 Middle Eastern newspapers in English.  And, there were only a few newspapers from the entire continent of Africa.  But despite what seems to be missing, this is an impressive collection of holdings regardless (who knows, there may even be plans to expand the holding/offerings at a later date).

Click here to start exploring the front pages of newspapers from around the world!  Be careful, you could find yourself spending a lot of time here.