The Parasimple Theory of Communication

Theories abound on how and why communication takes place among human beings.  I’ve taught them all for many a moon to college students in communications classes.  I guess the latest variation is the transactional theory, in which meaning between two (or more) individuals is somehow negotiated as in a transaction. If that’s the case, we’ve […]

Anniversary of a Landmark Speech

Today (May 12) marks the anniversary of the anti-slave-trade speech given in 1789 by [tag]William Wilberforce[/tag] before the British Parliament.  It would take until 1807 to actually outlaw the slave trade and another 26 years after that before the law would take effect, but Wilberforce started it all and never gave up. His speech lasted four hours, but […]

In Honor of Mother’s Day: The Misused Possessive

I can’t recall how many arguments I’ve gotten into over the use of the possessive.  I remember belonging to an organization that insisted on calling its gender-specific confabs “mens meetings” and “womens meetings.”  Now, whatever happened to the possessive apostrophe in these wordings, i.e., men’s meetings and women’s meetings?  I was told (by a K-12 […]

In Baseball, Grammar Strikes Out

At least it does when it’s grammar by BoSox pitcher [tag]Curt Schilling[/tag]. Look at this comma splice-ridden monstrosity: "Everyone has days and events in life they’d love to push the rewind button on, yesterday was one of those days." Adding a simple and after the comma would’ve at least made the sentence grammatical, eliminating the […]

Finding Those Tricky Subjects in English

Even native English speakers will have trouble identifying subjects (and verbs) in sentences that deviate from the most basic, such as “the dog barks.”  Here there are only an article (the), a subject/noun (dog) and a verb (barks).  Easy enough. However, look at this sentence and its optional verb forms and tell me the answer: […]

It’s Like So Yesterday

I wanted to assign so to the NotWord category, but a quick flip through dictionary.com turned up a preliminary okay for its usage. I got going on this when I heard [tag]Rachael Ray[/tag], on one of her $40-a-day trips (yeah, what about the hundreds she spends on the hotel room, transportation, shopping sprees and so on?), say, “I […]