A Language All Their Own
➔ Don’t think of grammar rules. Think of effectively communicating with your audience. Rules generally help, reinforce and enable that.
According to Mental Floss, unconsciously, native English speakers say adjectives preceding nouns in a specific order: opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material and purpose. It's why saying "old green metal chairs" sounds normal, but "metal green old chairs" sounds weird.
And we’re not just talking about the written word. Language is language regardless if it’s written on paper, on a computer, or even on a phone. Of course the earliest expressions of language were spoken and one could argue that the spoken word transcends all other forms of language.
Interestingly, arguably the most important part of the spoken word is listening. Want to listen better? You can learn from this guy who listens for a living.
Minding your P’s and Q’s
Of course we’re only human so mistakes do happen. According to Hubspot, these are the most common grammar mistakes: They're vs. Their vs. There. / Your vs. You're. / Its vs. It's. And, the most common punctuation mistakes: commas and semicolons. Confused? There is help from 11 Rules of Grammar in the English Language from the College of English Language.
Then again, language – especially English – can be tricky. Consider the contronym. A “contronym” is a word that’s its own opposite. For example: if you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.
As if that’s not bad enough, try deciphering language after it’s received an injection of political correctness. According to several sources, including britishmuseum.org, a trio of British museum organizations said they will avoid using the word “mummy” whenever possible, and swap it out with “mummified remains of” or “mummified person.”
Does this mean that The Three Stooges will have to change the title of their 1939 film short “We Want Our Mummy”?
“Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable”
— George Orwell,
English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic
The global “Wall Bed” (aka Murphy bed) market was valued at $1.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound average growth rate of 11 percent, reaching $2.3 billion by 2027.
Sounds Sweet, Eh?
There has been much skullduggery throughout history that have been given titles such as “the crime of the century,” “the perfect crime” or “the greatest crime of all time.” And then there is The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist. (Of course, to be wholly Canadian we have to include the French: vol de sirop d'érable du siècle.)
According to QI, Vanity Fair and others, over several months from 2011 to 2012, $18 million Canadian worth of syrup was stolen from a facility operated by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers – a government-sanctioned private organization that regulates the production and marketing of maple syrup in Quebec. As of 2011, the FPAQ produced 94 percent of Canadian maple syrup and 77 percent of the world's supply.
The haul totaled more than 3,000 tons – 10,000 barrels – of maple syrup. To put it into perspective, price of syrup is 13× that of crude oil.
“The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.”
— W. C. Fields
American comedian, actor, juggler and writer
Bubble trouble. In 1906 California inventor Luther Haws changed the workplace — and gossip — forever when he invented the first drinking fountain.
— HR Brew
Something to laugh about. A group of clowns is sometimes called a giggle.
— Mental Floss
The world’s dirtiest man. This 94-year old Iranian died soon after having bathed for the first time in more than 60 years.
The deepest cut. Two thirds of executives have taken a salary cut in the past six months, nearly all in an attempt to prevent or reduce layoffs.
— Resume Builder
The whole enchilada. Chipotle will be hiring 15,000 employees for “burrito season” — the period from March through May that represents its busiest sales stretch of the year.
— Morning Brew
Hey, tomato head. During last year’s heat wave in the UK, movie theaters offered free tickets to people with red hair (because of their fair skin.)
— New York Post
Not going “Dutch.” A Michigan woman sued a man for $10,000 for standing her up on a date.
— USA Today
Used to be king. Roughly four-in-ten Americans (41 percent) say none of their purchases in a typical week are paid for using cash.
Wake up and go to sleep. Sleeping reduces your appetite by a whopping 45 percent.
On the job. “It costs $4,700 to hire a new employee.”
The Month of February
Month of the Month
Ah, February. Valentine’s Day. The month of love. Don’t let anyone kid you it’s also Spunky Old Broads Month and International Hoof-Care Month. On the brighter side, it’s Great American Pies Month.
Ah, today, February 15. The day after Valentine’s Day. There’s no connection but it’s also National Hippo Day.
Question of the Month
What was the last song to sell one million copies of sheet music?
We will not volunteer the answer.
Quote of the Month
“I was married by a judge.
I should have asked for a jury.”
— Groucho Marx