That and Which–the Difference?

Even [tag]Thomas Jefferson[/tag] and the Founding Parents (can’t say Fathers anymore due to the PC Police–oops, here they come!) couldn’t get the distinction right between using which and that.

Now, the distinction is simple: that is restrictive and which isn’t; that is essential and which isn’t.  It’s all relative. 

Okay, I’m joking but not joking, and to help clarify the distinction between which and that, I’ll be writing an article soon and posting it here.

Meanwhile, consider these sentences: “A cat that has no claws cannot defend itself.” “A neighbor’s cat, which has no paws, comes by to visit us all the time.”

I’ll be back with further explanations. (And yes, I’m against the declawing of cats.)

Web World Words

Here comes the “hyper-local Internet”!

And what does that mean?

First let’s backtrack and look at some words that originated in Webspeak.  How about viral?  To go “viral” means that your Web site/product/idea catches on and spreads like a virus.  Can anyone engineer a “viral marketing campaign”?  There are a whole slew of sites out there willing to tell you how to do so–if you pay them a high enough fee.

Give me a break.

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Unmistakable in Meaning

India is going through some electoral turmoil as the two-thirds of the populace who do the farming constantly switch political allegiances in hopes that someone will come to their aid.  [tag]Indian farmers[/tag] are overworked and constantly in debt, unable to sell what they farm for what it costs them to produce and market.

One voter, in unmistakable English and logic, observed:

“If I were given a choice, I would like to be born as a European cow, but certainly not as an Indian farmer, in my next birth.”

Cows in Europe earn U.S. $2 a day in government subsidies.

I wish people in America could express themselves so clearly. ” Awesome” just doesn’t convey the same meaning as this plainly spoken English.

When a Word Becomes Meaningless, Or Worse…

Can we now relegate the word awesome to the trash heap of misused and abused words? Does [tag]awesome[/tag] even mean anything, or is it like a basic grunt or groan–just a sound to register your mere presence?

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing it.

"Hey, [tag]dude[/tag], Iran just developed a nuclear bomb and destroyed Israel?"


As you can see from this hypothetical but eerily prescient conversation that the word has managed to desensitive people to things around them. If everything is awesome, then there’s nothing ever wrong or bad. Maybe we can retire dude while we’re at it.


When Is Truth Truth?

No, this is not a variation of Bill Clinton’s question about the meaning of is. Rather, it’s a response to the Academy Awards and its bestowing of an Oscar on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

Now, that film’s subject matter is global warming, which despite media reports and Gorian proclamations has scientists divided.  Those who want to cash in on the global warming hysteria seem to say it’s been proven; other scientists say there is no conclusive proof whatsoever.

However, this hasn’t stopped either Gore or the United Nations (or for that matter, the media in general) from proclaiming that there can be no more scientific debate. 

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Discussion: Words that Originated in Rap Lyrics

So far, I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any Web sites that detail or discuss words that have been imported into everyday English usage that originated in [tag]rap lyrics[/tag], so I’m opening this for discussion.

If you know of any such words, phrases, grunts or groans, please use the commentary function on this posting to let us know.  (Dirty words are okay, so long as they’re now in the employ of some segment of English-speaking society and are not ethnically or racially offensive, an don’t worry–I do moderate all submissions.)

Sound-Alike Words

No, this is not a new category for my blog, but rather a common phenomenon in English.  Two words can sound completely alike, and if we don’t use them frequently enough, we can confuse the two while writing.

Case in point:

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New Category: MorphedWords

Since I screwed up and used the NotWord morphed in my posting yesterday, I’ve created a new category wherein common and acceptable English words get bastardized into forms and meanings never originally intended.  In short, to employ a NotWord (which has been now joined by new category), these words have been morphed.  Hence the name for my new category: [tag]MorphedWords[/tag].

What was the first MorphedWord?

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MorphedWords: Put ‘Charisma’ on the List

There I go–I used a NotWord.  I don’t believe morph is a verb, though the dictionary folk may have added it.  Naughty me.

The word I’m really writing about, however, is [tag]charisma[/tag], which is being bandied and thrown about a lot now that [tag]Barack Obama[/tag] is running for president.

What exactly does the word mean?

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