Showing 1 - 10 of 17 posts found matching keyword: grammar

While checking for news from the aftermath of Sunday's game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins in London, my phone returned this.

This is an appropriate use of sarcastic quotes.

Some people don't know when or how to use quotation marks. Most of the time, they should be used when directly quoting someone, such as dialog in novels or citing from sources in news stories. The difference is clear in Jay Cutler said I suck, and Jay Cutler said, "I suck".

Quotation marks can also be used to prevent confusion when referencing a word or phrase itself and not its meaning. You can see what I mean in Jay Cutler prefers "dicks."

And, of course, there's a third use for quotation marks: denoting irony or sarcasm.

On Sunday, the Dolphins lost 20-0. The were shut out by the Saints, a team with a nearly historically bad defense. The highlight of the game was when Jay Cutler actively refused to participate in a Wildcat play. The petulant quarterback stood on the field with his hands on his hips and watched his team lose three yards on yet another drive that would end with a punt. With quality teamwork like that from its quarterback, no wonder the Dolphins are one missed field goal away from being 0-3.

Coach Adam Gase deciding to pay Jay Cutler $10 million instead of starting Matt Moore may prove to be the worst decision of his young head coaching career. Maybe not Nick Saban choosing Daunte Culpepper's knee over Drew Brees' shoulder bad, but not too much worse.

As you can see, the writer of that Wikipedia entry knew what he was doing.

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It seems that everywhere I turn these days, I'm hearing more and more of my current least-favorite word: "unbelievable."

Once upon a time, impressive feats of athleticism were "unbelievable." Then Internet service for $29.95 a month became "unbelievable." Now discovering that a forty-ton airplane won't stay airborne unless someone is really paying attention is "unbelievable."

To those of you who sprinkle the word into your daily lives, I do not think it means what you think it means. Merriam Webster describes "unbelievable" to mean "too improbable for belief." The definition includes vampires or peace in the Middle East but not delicious doughnuts or a coach's decision to pass instead of run.

There really aren't that many things we come across in the physical universe that are unbelievable. Infinity? God? That Kim Kardashian makes $28 million per year? Those are unbelievable.

If you literally are incapable of believing the things your eyes are showing you, it's not that those things can't be imagined, it's that you have no imagination. Personally, that is something I find pretty unbelievable.

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The 2012 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "gif." That's right, "gif," as in the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a digital image format introduced to the world by CompuServe in 1987 and largely replaced in the 21st century by the patent-free Portable Network Graphics ("png") format. "Gif," pronounced either as "gift" without the "g" or as the peanut butter brand Jif, depending largely on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you're on, has finally climbed to the top of the logophile heap, and all it took was changing into a verb.

I'm not one to doubt the wisdom of the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary, but I can't say that I've heard the word "gif" used as a verb yet. The archaic gif, unloved and abandoned by digital imagery professionals, now survives thanks to amateurs who have found that it makes a handy universal format for animating and sharing brief clips of children being attacked by animals and adults earning Darwin Awards. If anything, it's not "gif" that should be awarded, but "ISP," for finally building the Internet's tubes large enough to support the ridiculously bloated size of animated gifs.

Ultimately, I have to guess that if a 25-year old word is the Word of the Year, it must have been a slow year for words. Seeing the hoopla that "gif" got, I thought I'd take a look back at past words honored by the New Oxford American Dictionary:

  1. gif
  2. squeezed middle
  3. refudiate
  4. unfriend
  5. hypermilling
  6. locavore
  7. carbon-neutral
  8. podcast

It's almost like looking into a time capsule! All of those are zeitgeist words. Who refudiates anymore? I guess that means that in a few years, we won't even remember that in 2012 we giffed.

Still crazy after all these years.

Yep, just like it all never happened....

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Comparing apples to apples:

How about these apples?

Less than 1 penny each? Damn, those are some cheap apples. In fairness, they were very bruised, but that only makes sense. The link between poverty and domestic violence is well documented.

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Bloggers like me have to think about a lot more things than blog readers like you. Besides what important topics I need to write about, I also have to consider which words in each sentence should be Capitalized. Should "potatoe" be spelled without the final "e"? And nothing I have to say is more important than how I punctuate it!

Take the so-called Oxford comma. Some people call the Oxford comma a serial comma, but I find that it tastes terrible in milk. If you didn't know, the Oxford comma is the comma appearing immediately before the final item in a series as demonstrated here, there, and everywhere.

I was taught in high school by an ironclad woman named Barbara Landreth that the Oxford comma should always be used always. Always. However, while The Oxford Style Manual still endorses the comma it named, it seems to me that most bloggers don't care for it anymore. It certainly doesn't help that newspaper reporters have shunned use of the Oxford comma, but look where that attitude has gotten them.

"Walter," I hear you say, "it's 2012. Everyone texts now; no one cares about stupid commas anymore!" Well, you should. That extra comma really clarifies quite a bit. Take the following examples and consider how their meaning would change with the addition of an old-fashioned Oxford comma:

Martha Stewart's former cellmate says the most important elements of a good Halloween party are the guests, crackers and spooks.

In a national election for the President of the United States, the American people will never elect Mormons, liars and criminals, unless they have no other choices.

She introduced me to her favorite body parts, Dick and Peter.

Oxford commas. They're not just for breakfast anymore.

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While browsing the internet to find the etymology for the neologism "trickeration" -- currently my least favorite word in the English language -- I discovered that Jason Taylor has announced that he will retire after Sunday's game. So the horrible 2011 season will claim one last player before it's all over.

Taylor will retire with the second most starts ever as a Miami Dolphin. If Taylor hadn't spent one season each with the Redskins and Jets, he'd need only 1 more season to pass Dan Marino's 242 games as a Dolphins' starter. Seeing as this is the year that the most significant of Marino's remaining passing records falls, it seems a missed opportunity not to eliminate his other records from the books. At the rate that the Dolphins discard their players these days, perhaps that's the Marino record that is truly unbeatable.

This is the fifth time I've blogged about Jason Taylor. It will probably be the last, if Taylor is smart enough to stay away from an organization that rewarded him with a trade to the Redskins just 1 year after the NFL made Taylor into a 26-feet tall robot. It's a shame that Taylor can't ride off into the sunset with a championship ring, but that's what happens to modern Hall of Famers in Miami. It sucks, Jason, but you just sort of get used to it.

Comments (0) | Leave a Comment | Tags: 2011 sucks dan marino dolphins football grammar jason taylor nfl the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football

In the past month, researchers at Yale University released a study revealing that sugar-sweetened soft drink manufacturers, especially Coca-Cola Company, have drastically increased their marketing to young children in recent years. The American Beverage Association responded: "This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated."

In the past month, researchers employed by the University of Oklahoma concluded a study that links consumption of sugary drinks with heart disease in women. The American Beverage Association responded: "This type of study cannot show that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages causes increased risk for cardiovascular disease. It simply looks at associations between the two, which could be the result of numerous other confounding factors."

In the past month, researchers in the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration calculated that American emergency room visits related to energy drinks have increased more than tenfold in in the past 6 years. The American Beverage Association responded: "This paper is a troubling example of statistics taken out of context. The number of emergency room visits by people who consumed energy drinks, as reported in the paper, represented less than one one-hundredth of 1% of all emergency visits."

In the past month, researchers for Consumer Reports found that 10% of commercially available apple juice exceeded the federal standard for arsenic in water. The American Beverage Association responded: "In fact, this latest report once again uses federal drinking water standards in its analysis of juice -- in no way comparing apples to apples and only creating confusion."

Today, the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University will present their 2011 Global Citizen of the Year Award to Susan Neely, the President and CEO of the American Beverage Association. The American Heritage Dictionary responded: "irony (i'·ro·ny): 1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. 2. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity."

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Newsflash! Fund domestic violence and head(line)s will roll!

Yeah, I have questions. First of all, who ever decided that it was a good idea for the state to fund domestic violence? Is there a pro-domestic violence lobby? Personally, I don't think domestic abusers should get any more rights than anyone else. Stay out of our bedrooms, government!

Secondly, what kind of picture did funding draw, anyway? With a headline like that, I'm going to need to see some pictures, especially since I doubt this paper's ability to describe the story with words. The subject ("funding") and verb ("draw") aren't in any more agreement than the state of funding domestic violence. "Funding" is an uncountable noun and should be treated as a singular noun; "draw" is a plural verb. What's the excuse for this? There's plenty of extra, unused column width, so it's not like they ran out of room for the "s" on "draws."

And third, just what page is this?

Xamine Your Zipper

Maybe nobody reads newspapers anymore, but it is starting to look like nobody writes them, either.

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The 2010 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "refudiate," meaning "to reject." My spell-checker wants to change that word into "repudiate," which makes sense, since "refudiate" is nothing more than a typo in a Twitter feed back in July. We now have a new, completely unnecessary word in our dictionary. This bit of political genius/manipulation will now be bloating the reference aisles on our national bookshelves with as much bullshit as is typically reserved for the self-help section.

The enemy here is not, surprisingly, Palin. This bit of trivia may be lost to history, but Sarah Palin herself attempted to correct her initial typo to "refute," the word she presumably meant to Tweet. Rather than let Palin get away with her mistake on Twitter -- where grammar goes to die -- her followers and detractors forced her into owning the mistake as intentional in order to save political face. She's relatively innocent in this fiasco. Sure, she could be smarter and not send messages to the public realm without reviewing them for mistakes, but that's probably asking too much.

No, the enemy here is the New Oxford American Dictionary. Damn you, Oxford University Press dictionary editors. Throwing a political figure's mistaken and jumbled words words back at them is a tried and true political tactic with great lineage. ("Potatoe" and "misunderestimate" spring to mind.) Mudslinging may have a storied tradition in American politics, but let's not start treating the weapons used as anything other than what they are: mud. If Oxford University Press includes words like "refudiate" in their dictionary, all they are doing is dirtying their own reputation.

Therefore, I refudiate the inclusion of the word "refudiate" to my automated spell-checker's personal dictionary. It already has a hard enough time with the perfectly cromulent words that I've already added such as "truthiness," "unfriend," and "wriphe." I mean, come on, it's not like my hard drive has all the space in the world.

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According to MSN.com, the Air Force has a Special Forces technology development program codenamed BATMAN. That sounds pretty cool until you read that BATMAN is an acronym for "Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge." As a Special Forces operative, are you really going to trust equipment built by a bunch of comic book geeks who can't even spell "knowledge"?

They couldn't come up with a word starting with the letter "n" to finish that acronym? Napalm, network, necromancers, necessities, neo-warriors, nightcrawlers, nodes... nothing? iNexplicable and eNigmatic kNavery like these iNaccurate Names really twist my kNickers in a kNot.

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