NotPhrase: ‘A Whole ‘Nother Thing’

No matter what talents (not many) he displayed on the floor on "Dancing With the Stars," and no matter how well he runs a professional basketball operation, [tag]Mark Cuban[/tag] can butcher the English language with the best of us. Here’s a NotPhrase he used on TV tonight and one I sometimes use myself:  "A whole ‘nother thing." I’m […]

There for Their, and Smith’s for Smiths

I keep chalking up abuses of the English language for my hoped-for ultimate word on correct English usage in my book Fast Food English. In my English composition class this past week, I sat through (maybe I should say thru, huh?) endless presentations where, without exception, the presenters used there for the possessive their. In general, native English […]

The Kiss That Made Film History

In tribute to actress [tag]Deborah Kerr[/tag], who passed away yesterday at 86, I offer here a clip of her kiss on the beach with [tag]Burt Lancaster[/tag], arguably the most famous scene in film history, certainly in terms of the sheer number of still photographs showing the kiss (okay, so this has nothing to do with […]

Essential v. Quintessential: Does Anyone Know the Difference?

When you hear sports jock radio and TV hosts using the word quintessential, you have to wonder if the world really understands what’s essential and what’s quintessential? In short, essential means "indispensable," while quintessential means "the most typical." I think most people just opt for quintessential because it sounds so fancy-schmancy without stopping to think about […]

Building Blocks of English X: Verb Tenses

I’m just going to stick to the real basics of English verb tenses in this posting (no need at this time to muddy the waters with complications like perfect tenses and conditional tenses, etc.). Keeping matters fundamental, let’s say that English has three basic tenses: past, present and future. We’ll start with the present with […]