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Category: Humor

Nuggets from Ol’ Diz

Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at 4:24 pm

Let’s welcome baseball season with this item by veteran copy editor and word nerd Tom Stern. Baseball’s back. I realize a lot of people don’t care. To them, sports fans are knuckle draggers who probably also read comic books while chewing gum with their mouths open. But baseball isn’t called “the grand old game” for …

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More Mangled Language and Pompous Usages to Avoid

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 10:40 am

This column is mostly concerned about the written word, but even so, pronunciation will inevitably enter the picture from time to time. The expressions chomping at the bit and stomping ground are both corruptions of the original champing and stamping. People find this incredible. But, for instance, consult the 1961 cult-favorite western film One-Eyed Jacks, …

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The Word Nerd: Six Pitfalls Writers (and Others) Should Avoid

Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013, at 1:50 pm

That’s right, I admit it. I’m a word nerd. I pick, pick, pick at the way you express yourself. Despite protests of apathy, people of all ages care about how well they express themselves. Deep down, everyone likes to be right about language, and you can even hear little kids teasing each other about talking …

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Stubborn Stinkaroos

Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2012, at 12:52 pm

This election year’s political dialogue has divided the country into the obscenely ultra-rich one percent and the ninety-nine percent who comprise the poor, the shrinking middle class and the, I guess you could say, tastefully affluent. Compare that with the literary one-percenters, a mulish minority of nitpickers who believe “proper” speaking and writing preserve English’s …

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That’s what that means?

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012, at 6:47 pm

I know many avid readers, and I wish I read as much as they do. But to my surprise, very few of them read with a dictionary on hand. When I ask why, the answer is some variation on “It ruins the mood” or “I want to relax, not study” or the most self-deluded one: …

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Spell Check Overreach

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at 1:42 pm

My spell check has been drinking again. It just told me “déjà vu” should be “deejay.” Everyone who uses Word software probably has some form of spell check. Mine—I call him “SC”—also makes occasionally helpful (but often just surreal) suggestions about grammar and punctuation. To be fair, SC sometimes saves me from my own carelessness. …

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Paraprosdokian Sentences

Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, at 11:28 am

This is from Dan, who offers us a new word and an idea worth understanding and enjoying. He suggests looking at Wikipedia's link for more paraprosdokians: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraprosdokian A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader …

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Excuses Sent by Parents to Schools

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2008, at 4:39 am

Sometimes I receive a humorous e-mail that is an excellent example of the importance of good grammar and communication. Then I have to pass it along to you. I promise to write something more serious next week but hope you smile when you read these. Apparently, these are real notes written by parents. (Spellings have …

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You Could Look It Up

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007, at 2:06 pm

I hope you enjoy this. Thanks to Peter H. for sending it. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is up. It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, …

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