Archive for May, 2007

A lecture about English

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
|A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

Tips to improve your writing

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
|1. Avoid alliteration. Always.2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.3. Employ the vernacular.4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. 5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.6. Remember to never split an infinitive.7. Contractions aren’t necessary.8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.9. One should never generalize.10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.12. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.13. Be more or less specific.14. Understatement is always best.15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.17. The passive voice is to be avoided.18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.20. Who needs rhetorical questions?21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.22. Don’t never use a double negation.23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point24. Do not put statements in the negative form.25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.28. A writer must not shift your point of view.29. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)30. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the irantecedents.32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.37. Always pick on the correct idiom.38. The adverb always follows the verb.39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They’re old hat; seek viable alternatives.

Europe English

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
|The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as “Euro-English”.In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

Poem of English

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
|Dearest creature in creation,Study English pronunciation.I will teach you in my verseSounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.I will keep you, Suzy, busy,Make your head with heat grow dizzy.Tear in eye, your dress will tear.So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.Just compare heart, beard, and heard,Dies and diet, lord and word,Sword and sward, retain and Britain.(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)Now I surely will not plague youWith such words as plaque and ague.But be careful how you speak:Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;Cloven, oven, how and low,Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.Hear me say, devoid of trickery,Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,Exiles, similes, and reviles;Scholar, vicar, and cigar,Solar, mica, war and far;One, anemone, Balmoral,Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;Gertrude, German, wind and mind,Scene, Melpomene, mankind.Billet does not rhyme with ballet,Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.Blood and flood are not like food,Nor is mould like should and would.Viscous, viscount, load and broad,Toward, to forward, to reward.And your pronunciation’s OKWhen you correctly say croquet,Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,Friend and fiend, alive and live.Ivy, privy, famous; clamourAnd enamour rhyme with hammer.River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,Doll and roll and some and home.Stranger does not rhyme with anger,Neither does devour with clangour.Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,And then singer, ginger, linger,Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.Query does not rhyme with very,Nor does fury sound like bury.Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.Though the differences seem little,We say actual but victual.Refer does not rhyme with deafer.Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.Mint, pint, senate and sedate;Dull, bull, and George ate late.Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,Science, conscience, scientific.Liberty, library, heave and heaven,Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.We say hallowed, but allowed,People, leopard, towed, but vowed.Mark the differences, moreover,Between mover, cover, clover;Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,Chalice, but police and lice;Camel, constable, unstable,Principle, disciple, label.Petal, panel, and canal,Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,Senator, spectator, mayor.Tour, but our and succour, four.Gas, alas, and Arkansas.Sea, idea, Korea, area,Psalm, Maria, but malaria.Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.Doctrine, turpentine, marine.Compare alien with Italian,Dandelion and battalion.Sally with ally, yea, ye,Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.Say aver, but ever, fever,Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.Heron, granary, canary.Crevice and device and aerie.Face, but preface, not efface.Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.Large, but target, gin, give, verging,Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.Ear, but earn and wear and tearDo not rhyme with here but ere.Seven is right, but so is even,Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.Pronunciation — think of Psyche!Is a paling stout and spikey?Won’t it make you lose your wits,Writing groats and saying grits?It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,Islington and Isle of Wight,Housewife, verdict and indict.Finally, which rhymes with enough –Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?Hiccough has the sound of cup.My advice is to give up!

Creative wording

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
|BEING CREATIVE WITH TROUBLESOME KIN You are working on your family genealogy and for sake of example, let’s say that your great-great uncle, Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. A cousin has supplied you with the only known photograph of Remus, showing him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture are the words: “Remus Starr: Horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison, 1885. Escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged, 1889.” Pretty grim situation, right? But let’s revise things a bit. We simply crop the picture, scan in an enlarged image and edit it with image processing software so that all that is seen is a head shot. Next, we rewrite the text: “Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”