The Queen’s English

Queen

The Queen’s English.
Yes, I’ve heard that about her!  😆

If only more of the English people would speak the English language. Some of them think that, if a word is good enough to be said once, it should be slightly changed and said twice.  Sometimes this doubling-up is done to emphasize the meaning, but I am sure that sometimes it is done just to confuse those who don’t speak the local dialect.

It has brought us a bunch of word-pairs like; holus-bolus, okie-dokie, hurdy-gurdy, hunky-dory, hurly-burly, lovey-dovey, argy-bargy, hinky-dinky, rinky-dinky, hanky-panky, razzle-dazzle, willy-nilly, fuzzy-wuzzy, namby-pamby, itsy-bitsy, (t)eensy-weensy, (t)eeny-weeny, higgledy-piggledy, mumbo-jumbo, roly-poly, and tittle-tattle.

Cuckoo Clock

Why ‘Tock-Tick’ does not sound right, to your ear

Have you ever wondered why we say tick-tock, not tock-tick, or ding-dong, not dong-ding; King Kong, not Kong King?  It turns out that it is one of the unwritten rules of English that native speakers know, without even knowing.

The rule, explains a BBC article, is; “If there are three words, then the order has to go I, A, O. If there are two words, then the first is I, and the second is either A or O.”  Mish-mash, chit-chat, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, tip top, hip-hop, flip-flop, Tic Tac, sing-song, ding-dong, King Kong, ping-pong.

There’s another unwritten rule at work in the name Little Red Riding Hood, says the article. Articles in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion, size, age, color, origin, material, purpose, noun.  So, you can have a lovely, little, old, rectangular, green, French, silver, whittling knife.  If you tamper with that word order in the slightest, you sound like a maniac.

That explains why we say “little green men”, and not “green little men,” but “Big Bad Wolf” sounds like a gross violation of the “opinion (bad)- size (big)- noun (wolf) order. It isn’t though, if you recall the first rule about the I-A-O order.

That rule seems inviolable. “All four of a horse’s feet make exactly the same sound, but we always say clip-clop, never clop-clip.”  This rule even has a technical name, if you care to know about it – the rule of ablaut reduplication – but then life is simpler knowing that we know the rule, without knowing it.

Play it by ear.
If a word sequence sounds wrong, it probably is wrong.

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Smitty’s Loose Change #3

Smitty's Loose Change

A Provincial Liberal spin-doctor, trying to justify the amounts of money spent (wasted) by the Government, wrote, “We’ve increased Guaranteed Income Supplement payments for seniors. We’ve started building more roads, bridges and transit to create jobs, and help you get to work on time at the end of a long day.”  Would that be in a cart placed firmly in front of the horse, or is it as we go to our second job, to be able to pay the taxes to replace what they’ve frittered away?

***

The above ranks right up there with the sign in the Notre Dame football locker-room that says, “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” Go ahead, try that.  You haven’t been knocked down, so you only have to get up once….  This success thing is harder than it looks – especially in university mathematics.

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The term for ‘It’s been wrong so often and for so long, that now it’s right, is ‘hypercorrect incorrectness.’ All those who haven’t nodded off, can now pray to have Archon’s OCD cured.

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“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” And now I know why I’m so low-key.  I am very comfortable in my own skin.

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Did I miss a language lesson somewhere??? When the Hell did ‘chick’ become ‘chic’?  I collect the occasional misusage, to poke fun at.  This has become endemic.  I see it everywhere! Me and this chic went to a bar. Chic [sheek] means fashionable, stylish, elegant and/or attractive.

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GRAMMAR:
It’s the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

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While recently celebrating Columbus Day, certain Americans discovered that Canadians were celebrating our Thanksgiving, earlier than the US, because of our shorter growing season. Considerable confusion arose. “Well, do you celebrate Christmas and Easter at the same time we do?”

MSN.ca celebrated with an article titled, ’23 things Canadians say, that Americans don’t understand.’ It included my favorite, poutine (French fries, gravy and grated mozzarella), serviette (paper napkin) and two-four (a case of beer).

I discovered another regionalism, but balked at the quote some Canuck used to explain it. “A washroom is just a polite way of saying bathroom.”  No, it’s not!  As my Grade 5 teacher explained to “that kid”, a room which contains a toilet/urinal, and a sink, is a washroom.  If instead, it contains a tub, or shower stall, it then becomes a bathroom.

‘Restroom’ is an already chi-chi way to describe a place where you can sit down, rest, and take a load off – your feet.  ‘Powder room’ has nothing to do with explosions or demolition.  It’s one of the above, full of euphemism, not powder.  As a comedienne explained, “Women don’t fart, and we don’t sweat.  If we didn’t bitch, we’d explode.”    😆

He Said – She….Mumbled

Grammar Text

PENDARVIS’ THEOREM OF WHY THINGS WENT WRONG
It’s only a little bit off

As an OCD Word Nazi, I appreciate precision in all things, but especially in written and spoken English usage. I used to delight in watching the British comic, Benny Hill, not merely because he was a king of slapstick comedy, but because of his consummate control of language while doing it.

He also showed his dedication to linguistic precision with lines like, “When he said he was bent on seeing her, he meant he was bent on seeing her, not that the sight of her doubled him up.”  He complained that he had a bent wood chair in his dressing room; not a Bentwood chair, but a bent, wood chair, because of the damp in the basement.

A character with a funny accent could refer to the crime of man’s laughter, instead of manslaughter.  A skit might show an incorrectly hung sign for

Doctor Johnson, The
rapist

when it was really Doctor Johnson, Therapist.

I once had an aunt who was the epitome of imprecision. She often started conversations in the middle and worked toward each end, usually not reaching either.  It was common for her to toss out the likes of, “We went over to see him, but, of course, they weren’t home.  He wanted to go down there, but I said it was too late.  We walked to it, but I was right; it was Tuesday.”

(I hope)There was a lot going on inside her head that didn’t leak out through her mouth. I know there was a lot of alcohol involved, on both sides.  She was a ‘Lady’, and Ladies didn’t ‘drink’, although she wouldn’t refuse 6 or 8 medicinal toddies in an afternoon – or evening.  I often wondered if my Mother’s brother understood what she was talking about, or even cared.

Baby grammar seals

I recently read an article on the usages of ‘different from’ vs. ‘different than.’ It stated that ‘different from’ was accepted in all cases.  ‘Different than’ was considered proper usage only about 10% of the time – “so, one is more correct than the other.”

In the comments thread beneath, Polly Pedantic immediately struck like a stooping hawk. “Don’t you mean more nearly correct?”  No dear, they don’t!  If she’d paid a little more attention to both the article, and her own comment, she’d have seen that.

‘Nearly correct’ means incorrect, and the article plainly said that each was correct, only one more often accepted than the other.  It even gave rare examples of ‘different as’, and ‘different to.’

One single recent newspaper almost had me in tears. The headline read, ’Two youths killed when car sideswipes power pole.”  And there was the photo.  The car was wrapped around the pole in a C-shape, or a U, so, the writer doesn’t understand ‘sideswipe.’

The pole holds up a streetlight, and a traffic light, but there are no electrical wires attached to it. It’s a light standard, so the writer also doesn’t understand ‘power pole.’  The lone survivor was ejected through a rear window, which means he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, in contravention of the clearly-written Highway Traffic Act.  Stupidity, and lack of comprehension, carries the death penalty.

The next article spoke of ten intersections that would be closed for work on the new street railroad. They included King Street at Breithaupt, and King Street at Moore Ave.  This is where I worked for almost 20 years.  It’s only one location, another of Kitchener’s fabled K-intersections.  Two side streets each approach the main drag from opposing 45° angles.  Actually, Breithaupt runs into Moore, behind the McDonald’s, and only Moore reaches King.  Ten intersections closed??  I can’t count on precision.

A brief read, “Accident sends man to hospital south of Port Elgin.” There is no hospital ‘south of Port Elgin,’ but an “Accident, south of Port Elgin, sends a man to hospital.”

Then, on to the crossword, where the clue was ‘clammering up.’ Hmm??  Do they mean ‘clamoring,’ or ‘clambering?’  Apparently it was clambering, because the solution was ‘shinning,’ but clambering doesn’t mean shinning, in the same way that trotting does not mean galloping.

It’s only a little bit off??  I am bent on seeing this drivel – by which, I precisely mean that the sight of it doubles me up. Gaakk   😳

What’s Finally In Your Fridge?

Open fridge

When last we left our husky hero, he was grazing his way through Kansas the basement storeroom. Now is time for him to finally reveal What Evil Lurks In The Heart Of AMANA. Boowahaha….hack, hack!? Stand back! I don’t want anyone crushed when I open this door.

Poor refrigerator, it seems to go in cycles, always busy, but there are days when you can open the door and get an echo. A week later, if I threw a cup of water at it, all but a few drops would splash back on the floor, it’s so jammed with leftovers put-asides. ‘Leftovers’ has a poor connotation; these are intentional, and good.

As downstairs, almost everything in the upstairs fridge comes in multiple versions. There are two 2-liter jugs of iced tea. The three of us drink more than one per day, so there’s always another one chilling. There’s my morning orange juice, but because the wife’s allergic, she has serially gone through cranberry juice, apple juice, the iced tea, and now is drinking mango juice.

Among the condiments we have regular ketchup and my Hot and Spicy ketchup, yellow mustard, and Dijon. (We can’t afford Grey Poupon.) There’s sweet relish, and dill, the wife’s mayonnaise and my Miracle Whip, white vinegar and malt, soya sauce and Tamari, which is spicy like soya, but with less caramel for lighter colored foods and less burning when cooked. .

The shelves are jammed with lemon juice, lime juice for Tex-Mex, coconut oil, Indian ghee, which is a clarified cooking butter, HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hot chili-garlic sauce, Tabasco sauce and Chipotle Tabasco, sandwich spread, Sriracha, chili sauce, salad dressings, chopped garlic, shredded garlic and shredded ginger, maple syrup, stuffed olives, sliced pizza olives, and two different Diana sauces.

We stock store-bought sweet pickles and gherkins, and homemade dill pickles in snacking quarters, and slices for burgers and sandwiches. The wife likes artichoke hearts, the liquid from which she sometimes uses as a salad dressing, adding a dash of lemon juice and salt, and we keep both margarine and butter for cooking and spreading.

There’s 4 kinds of fruit in the fruit drawer, and 6 different vegetables in the vegetable drawer, including zucchini, which the wife fries with olive oil & garlic salt and tops with shredded cheese. Milk includes 3% homo, my chocolate milk, the wife’s non-dairy Coffee-Rich cooking substitute, and buttermilk to make pancakes and waffles. The son and I eat regular sour cream, while the wife uses the more expensive, lactose-free.

CHEESE! Oh Dear Lord, cheese! We always had cheese, but now that we’re getting older, the wife ensures that there’s lots of cheese to assist my chocolate milk to fight off osteoporosis.

Fasten your seat belt! – The son’s cheddar cheese-string sticks, the wife’s mozzarella sticks, Kraft Singles sandwich slices, Havarti slices, a bag of shredded TexMex, a bag of grated Parmesan for pasta and homemade Caesar dressing. In blocks, we have smoked Parmesan for special dishes, Emmenthaler, the son’s Gruyere, cheddar, the wife’s goat-milk Kashkaval, which she puts on the fried zucchini, Monterey Jack, occasionally mozzarella, which I take from the freezer, to thaw for lasagna, pizza or French onion soup, and Edam, for family-gathering hors d’oeuvres. Oh, and don’t forget the flavored cream cheese spread, the jar of Cheeze-Whiz, and the jar of salsa con queso, which I dollop on my nachos.

Behind the leftovers on the top shelf, hide two or three flavors of homemade jam – red currant from our own bush, strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry, or spiced peach. Tired of putting it on toast? Mix a little boiling water, and they make excellent pancake/waffle toppings. Up there are also horseradish, beet relish, which is 50/50 horseradish and grated, cooked beets, and goes great on ham, pickled ginger, and a soup can full of salvaged bacon fat that we use to fry French toast, or make a roux for gravy.

The son works midnights, and doesn’t take the evening meal with us. He eats at 4:00 AM. The wife and I prepare a recipe that was set up when we had two healthy teenagers. Now she and I take what we want, and fill a Ziploc container for the son. Sometimes he has two or three ahead in the fridge.

Tupperware

Occasionally we pack some up for the daughter, especially tomato-based dishes, because her son is allergic to them, for days when her mobility disability keeps her from cooking. Thank the heavens for microwaves. Tupperware was handy but expensive. Now Ziploc and Glad containers are here. If you melt one a bit, it’s quick and cheap to replace.

After we’ve supplied the son and daughter, anything left goes in smaller amounts for future lunches. No longer just sandwiches – unless you want one. We freeze fresh bread, and never put out more than half a loaf. That top shelf is crowded with little containers of chili, won-ton soup, curried chicken and hamburger stroganoff.

I had to install a light fixture above the sink with three hi-intensity halogen bulbs. The one in the fridge was always so obscured by all the food that you couldn’t see in. Thanx for reading our obesity diary. You must’ve wanted to; you showed up.   😆

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On an unrelated note; I recently ran into a woman who’s even more of a Grammar Nazi than me. She warns her online friends that, if they send her a message like the last line above, but spelled ‘You must of wanted to’, she’ll unfriend them on Facebook.   😳

#489

Assaults And Indignities

 

Grammar Nazi

 

 

This is my annual rant about the mayhem inflicted by the uncaring speakers, but not really writers, of our beautiful mother tongue.  Ah, the things they think they’re saying, when they’re not really thinking at all.

A local reporter wrote a mournful piece about a plaintive in a court case.  Perhaps he thought that a plaintiff was just an ordinary fight.

Twice in two days, I read about a slathering fiend.  That’s your kid, when he puts too much peanut butter on his toast.  A slavering fiend drips saliva from his fangs.

You are more of a trooper than I am – only if you’re in the army or police force.  A member of a troupe of actors, who believes the show must go on, is a trouper.

No matter what path you lead before – confuses the past tense verb, led, with the metal, lead.

Taking a quick peak into the mall shops, happens because it’s often a sneak peek, two words which sound the same, but are spelled differently.  I don’t think they have any mountains in there.

From my prospective, I don’t think – Yes, it’s obvious you don’t think, you prospective dolt.  If you did, you’d think about a visual, or mental perspective.

The populous didn’t know what was happening.  That’s because the information didn’t go to the adjective, but to populace, the noun.

Song writers often miss the mark by trying to be creative.  An oldie, still sometimes played, bemoans “songs we used to like” and other, unnamed things, perhaps like bell-bottomed jeans and disco balls, which have gone out the window.  They may be gone, in the normal state of progress, but “gone out the window” is like throwing out the baby with the bath water – precipitately, prematurely, and without proper consideration.

A similar complaint could be made about the tune that sings about, “Our house, in the middle of the street.”  I can just see poor Mom, run over by a semi, roaring through the back door as she’s serving soup.  I’m pretty sure Our house, was, in the middle of the block.

There were hundreds of make-ship signs, but there were no ships, because the shiftless protesters only made make-shift signs, while they were at the coffee shop pouring over the details.  Fortunately none got spilled on the keyboard, and they found that, by getting right down to the skin, they were poring over details.

You might think that if two guys were either whaling, or wailing, at each other, one of them would be correct.  Sadly, not so!  Wales are strips, or ridges, as in wide-wale, or narrow-wale corduroy, a string-like fabric that once, only French kings could wear.  Corde du Roi – the string of the King.  The strips of planks which made up the hulls of wooden ships were wales, at the top of which were installed the cannons, making them gunwales, or gunnels, for the linguistically lazy.  So actually, these guys were waling on each other – shoulda used dictionaries.

To keep the fans appraised of what’s happening.  What’s happening is, I’ve appraised that the fans should have been apprised.

She didn’t let the news phase her, because she was in the phase where she didn’t know that she should be fazed.

The candidate was taking her queue from the Liberals.  If she stood in the line long enough, the stage manager would have given her her cue.

More bitching about crossword puzzles:

FAQs are not data.  They are Frequently Asked Questions.  The answers to the questions comprise the data.

Part of DVDVideo  Somebody just doesn’t know that the V in DVD stands for versatile.

Joyous to Burns – Aglee  Just because the word contains “glee,” doesn’t mean it’s happy.  It comes from the Scottish, “gley”, meaning squint, and means askew or awry.  SpellCheck doesn’t even recognize aglee.  I’ll have to click “Add to Dictionary.”

How so does not mean whyWherefore means why, despite generations of incorrect teaching of Romeo and Juliet.  How so (or howso) explains how something came to pass or exist, though showing that usually also displays why it occurred.

I wrote that I didn’t want to add any more to the problem.  SpellCheck/GrammarCheck insisted that it should be anymore, a totally different concept.  It also “corrected” a line to read, “I don’t know how you people does it.”

I used the word Clientele in a sentence.  SpellCheck insisted that it should be Clientage, an archaic word, hardly used anymore.  For a laugh, I agreed to put it in, and SpellCheck now insisted that it should be client age.  There’s just no pleasing this computer.

I don’t know if the writers of the TV series N. C. I. S. were serious, or making a joke, but they irritated me, twice.  They had the supposedly intelligent female lab tech describe a couple of agents, “grasping at hollow polystyrene tubes.”

Firstly, the statement is redundant.  If they’re hollow, they’re tubes.  If they’re not hollow, they’re rods.  Secondly, city-dwellers may not remember, but the saying refers to tall, dried grass stalks, not modern drinking implements.  If there are no logs or sticks handy, a drowning person will grasp at straws.

Suspect fleas officer – Why?  Did the officer have termites?

The stationary company, BIC – just sat there, making stationery.

You can have pie Alamo – but only in Texas.

The worst I found was, at least, a non-professional comment on a blog-site.  “Cookie Monster should of lernt restraint right from the start I which him the best”  Again, so few words, so many mistakes!  😦

Like too many others, this gal hears *should’ve* but doesn’t remember from school, and puts in *of* to make the (‘ve) sound.  Learnt is archaic, but acceptable, if you learned to spell it correctly.  She could have learned to put periods after “start” and “best”, and I wish people like her knew what they were writing about.

I’ll leave you with the best.  It’s still wrong, but it’s cute.  A guy wanted to sell his house, because he didn’t want to live on a cuddle sack.