Interjections: Share Your Emotions

Dictionary.com gives us the following definition for interjection: “a word or words, or some noise, used to express surprise, dismay, pain or other feelings and emotions.” “Oh dear, so that’s what an interjection is.  I never realized.” The “Oh dear” (or “Oh, dear”) part of the above sentence represents the [tag]interjection[/tag]. Interjections are probably safest […]

This English Is a Hard Language

Or is it just old age setting in? I’m a native speaker and generally a good speller, having gotten my K-12 education before the liberal reforms of the 1960s ruined everything in public education. But just today I’ve already had to look up two words to make sure my memory was correct.  The first was pastime.  […]

Turn Off the Lights on Your Way Out

The headline is a non pre-sequitur, whatever the term for that is, but my subject is light, in a way anyway. My penpal in Taiwan, who is also an English teacher and whose grammar (learned as a second language) is infinitely better than most native Americans, even college graduates, was perplexed when I used the […]

Could Of, Coulda: Avoida

Now it’s perfectly okay for [tag]Marlon Brando[/tag] to bemoan that he “coulda been a contender.”  People (some, a lot sometimes) speak that way, and that was a line in a screenplay.  Verisimiltude counts. However, the construction could of, which some/many native users of English think is the correct verb form for could have, needs to be […]

Media Hyperbole: ‘Worst Ever’

I was a little curious as to how the collective American media could pounce upon phrases such as “worst school tragedy in American history” so quickly and so effortlessly.  Probably, the only point of comparison was Columbine, and that made the 33 deaths at [tag]Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University[/tag] the “worst ever.” Now, my […]

NotWords Vlog and Crog

So, wiki–Hawaiian for quick–has now made the [tag]Oxford English Dictionary[/tag].  No surprise.  These Oxford people are the same folks who put their imprimatur on using they as a generic pronoun for persons and things of singular or plural nature alike.  In other words, to say, “They want to fire everyone” is the same thing as saying, “The company […]

Cold War Turns 60 Today

The actual Cold War, which pitted the U.S and Soviet Union in a battle for global political supremacy, is reputedly dead, but the term itself was fashioned 60 years ago today. I teach both communications and history classes to college students, and I’m always shocked at a) the poor English skills and b) the historical ignorance.  […]