Go Gators!

Pentametron scours Twitter looking for tweets that are in iambic pentameter and then combines them into sonnets.

Friday Five: Favorite Adverbs

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get your adverbs here!

  • certainly
  • surely
  • simply
  • frighteningly
  • quickly
You Could NOT Care Less

I can’t stand when people say, “I could care less.” “I could care less,” is one of those little things that drives me absolutely batshit crazy. If you could care less, it means you care. That’s not what you mean when you say that, is it? What you mean is that you don’t care. Someone […]

Whether or Not

The words or not never follow the word whether. That’s it. That’s the rule. Whether implies or not. You don’t ever need to say both of them. The words or not should never be spoken. (They should certainly never be written.) Whether implies “or not”. Get it?

Wonderful Phrases

Five Wonderful Phrases That I Resolve to Use More Frequently in Conversation soup to nuts by hook or by crook ass-over-teakettle dollars to doughnuts tits up

Gay Marriage

There was a story this morning about gay marriage on LA’s 89.3 KPCC. I was infinitely more offended by the fact that reporter Kelly Wilkinson pronounced the word “rural” as “rurl” and the word “unfamiliar” as “unfermiliar” than I was about any part of the gay rights argument.

Chinese Instructions, Part 2

I got a new insulated coffee mug a few days ago. There was a little slip of paper inside it with “instructions”. This is a coffee mug. It’s very nice and this morning it did an excellent job of keeping my coffee hot while I drove to the office. Here’s a bit of the writing […]

Grammar Matters (Still)

Recently I saw a commercial for Sylvan Learning Centers. This is a company that is selling products to help your children do well in school. The ad showed a teenage girl gabbing on the telephone. The voice-over said, “Sally sure can talk fast. We can help her read fast,” or something like that. Apparently grammar […]

Grammar Matters (Again)

Last night I writhed in agony while watching the 11 o’clock news. The local NBC affiliate was running a story about the Sacramento disc jockeys that were fired recently. (The radio personalities had sponsored a contest which led to the death of a woman.) Behind the anchorman the screen displayed DJ’s Fired. I’m sure that […]

Chinese Instructions

After several years of mostly neglecting my Flickr account, I have finally started uploading the tons and tons of photos I’ve taken. Flickr is — if you can stomach the missing “e” — an incredibly cool site. Everything is intuitive and as far as I can tell, they haven’t done anything “wrong” anywhere. It’s everything […]

The Commonly Confused Words Test

Amazing! According to this test I am an English Genius. It was not a surprise to see that I scored a perfect 100%, actually, on the advanced sections. What was shocking was that I scored in the embarrassingly-low 80s on what were supposed to be the simple sections. That, and the fact that I could […]

Typing Monkeys

Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. Give six monkeys one computer for a month, and they will make a mess.

The “plural apostrophe” (e.g. no dog’s allowed, sofa’s for sale, UGH) is running rampant these days, and it’s not just my imagination. It’s so wrong that I can’t even begin to fathom how anyone could make such a mistake. I hate it when people dismiss it with, “Oh, not everyone’s a grammar freak.”

Grammar? You think it’s an issue of grammar? I hate to break it to you, but if you can’t spell “dogs,” you’re illiterate.
via strange brew

Impact the Itch

Someone commented on my mini-rant that the words “itch” and “impact” are not verbs. The reader seemed to suggest that the appearance of these words in “a dictionary” as verbs is a viable argument for them being accepted that way. My reply: There are many words in “the dictionary” that are not words. You cannot […]

Sir Gawain

This is from an English lit. class; it was written on February 10, 1993 … Sir Gawain and the Green Knight What makes a man a hero? Where lies the line which when crossed changes a mortal man into a legend? Is it at the altar at Canterbury? in the Minotaur’s labyrinth? or is it […]

How to Pronounce the Word Height

I want you to stop what you’re doing. I want you to look at the word below. I want you to speak it aloud. height How did it sound? Say it again. Did it rhyme with “right”? It should have. Say it again. Did it rhyme with “byte”? It should have. Say it again. Aloud, […]

Ending Lists

On list groupings and the correct use of commas Why does it seem that nobody knows the correct way to end a comma-delimited list? Did they stop teaching this after 1980 or something? Let’s review, shall we? First let me explain the philosophy upon which the correct use of “commas in lists” rests. It’s another […]


“Grammatical English is now the near-exclusive province of the middle-aged and elderly because it hasn’t been formally taught in most schools … for about thirty years. Knowledge of the mechanics of how words, clauses, and phrases are hooked up to form sentences and paragraphs has been withheld from most children for such a long time […]

Top Ten

I laughed out loud at #4 on the list of Top Ten Ways to Torture Your Professor: Hold fast, to your belief that, liberal and seemingly-random, use of, commas in term papers, makes you look, real smart.


Not words: acrost, irregardless, nucular, supposably, nother, alot, alright Not verbs: interface, input, impact, itch