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“Its” vs. “It’s:” Not as Easy as ABC (News)

With COVID-19 causing things to change quickly, I have taken to watching the evening news. I used to watch CBS faithfully when I was a kid, so I knew Dan Rather was the anchor, Bill Plante was the White House correspondent, David Martin was at the Pentagon and Tom Fenton was in London.

Now, I watch ABC News because the show runs 16-20 minutes before its first commercial (after that, segments run as little as 22 seconds before cutting to the next commercial break, so I know not to watch it live). In three weeks, I have learned David Muir is the anchor, Tom Llamas is the weekend anchor who also handles the lead story most nights, Whit Johnson handles the lead story when Llamas is off or is anchoring, Jennifer Ashton does medical reports, Jonathan Karl is at the White House, Steve Osunsami is in Atlanta, Matt Gutman is the national correspondent (who recently spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and often reported from outside a Burbank hospital — across the street from Disney, which owns ABC), James Longman is in London and Martha Raddatz makes appearances.

As I watched a newscast last week, something caught my eye, so I rewound the recording and saw this:

ABC screen shot.jpg

You’re telling me that ABC News graphics people don’t know the difference between its and it’s? I can’t believe it. Its is the possessive; it’s is a contraction for “it is.”

It’s truly ridiculous that this made it to air.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Your Modifiers Dangle

A common misuse of language I come across is dangling modifiers, those modifiers make a sentence make no sense.

Example: “Taking our seats, the game started.” Taking does not refer to the sentence subject, game, or any other word in the sentence.

But say, “Taking our seats, we watched the game start” and you’ve solved the problem. Taking now refers to we, the subject of the sentence.


Until next time! Use the right words! 

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Anybody Know This Song?

Life in the time of coronavirus has me not driving very much — which seems to be the case for everyone because gasoline prices have dropped 50 cents a gallon in my neighborhood.

But I digress.

One of the few times I need to use my car is to drive to the market. Recently, as I listened to radio station KLOS, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who came on. My car is new enough to have the name and artist come on the screen.

Except that this was what came up:


Obviously, somebody got fooled. I hope Pete Townsend doesn’t complain. Or the Coen Brothers, Jeff Bridges or anyone else associated with “The Big Lebowski.”

The Dude would probably be OK with it.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Actually Do Have the Time for This

In my more impatient moments, I often shout in frustration, “I don’t have time for this!” Sometimes, I throw in a curse word.

This happened today as I was doing my makeshift workout around my condo complex (my gym, of course, is closed; such is life in the time of coronavirus). My headphones came out of my phone that was playing my music, which stops the music and requires me to reset. Annoying.

But as I muttered, “I don’t have time for this (expletive)!” it dawned on me, that, actually, I do have time.

Because we are in the midst of “shelter at home,” I’m finding I’m on vacation mode. I’m moving slower, there’s no money coming in and I can’t go anywhere. So, I do have the time to work out with these little interruptions.

My workouts usually take 90 minutes. What’s another few minutes going to do?

Until next time! Use the right words! 

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Check the Calendar!

During a recent networking meeting, someone got up and talked about how important it is to get one’s marketing materials in order as soon as the year starts.

“I did this on the very first day of the year, January second,” he said.

Hmmm. What planet starts its numerical sequence with 2?

I think that guy is at least one day short of a month!

Until next time! Use the right words! 

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get His Name Right!

I have never met Bob Gale. In fact, I don’t know who he is, and I didn’t know why I would.

But this past weekend, I went to the Hollywood Museum and saw a “Back to the Future” exhibit, and it was there I was reminded that Gale co-wrote the series with Robert Zemeckis.


Then I saw this:


I did a double-take. Was I really seeing this? His name was everywhere, yet no one noticed the misspelling?

I told the friend standing next to me. He didn’t notice it, until I pointed it out to him. Then he couldn’t unsee it.

I hope Bob Gale finds out about this, contacts the museum and requests the correction be made.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

February 5, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Lose Your Loose Balls

While visiting my daughter at Chapman University this past weekend, we played a little mini golf, and my daughter spotted this sign:


Look at the third rule.

How do you loose your ball? Maybe they mean “If your ball comes loose from the course,” but it’s more likely a typo.

And for what it’s worth, I saw numerous people ignore the second rule.

Including us.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

On Due Process vis-a-vis Impeachment

We are approaching a momentous day: For only the third time in our history, the Senate will decide if an impeached president should be removed from office.

But this isn’t about politics. This is about words. And people are using the words incorrectly.

I have heard people say, “The Senate will never impeach Trump.” They’re right; that’s the House’s job. What they mean to say is that they believe the Senate will never vote to convict and remove the president from office.

I also refer to a statement I saw from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham: “President Trump has done nothing wrong. He looks forward to having the due-process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated.”

I take issue with the part about due process being denied. Trump and his supporters often have complained that the House’s impeachment inquiry denied the president due process.

However, the House impeaching a president is akin to a grand jury hearing. According to Find Law, a prosecutor works with a grand jury to decide whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a potential defendant. There is no defendant, no defense attorney, no right to call witnesses or anything else associated with the provisions laid out in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

In short, there is inherently no due process, so it can’t be denied.

Once the trial in the Senate commences, due process comes into play. The president will have people defending him, with all the rights granted in the two aforementioned Amendments, plus anything else the Senate decides to allow. If something happens that prevents that, then we’ve got a real problem.

For now, though, everything is correct, no matter what one side tries to say.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Written and Spoken Networking Nonsense

As I’ve written before, I hear more nonsense coming out of networker’s mouths than anywhere else. Sometimes, I read nonsense coming out of networker’s printers, too.

Like this from a dentist:


Now, when I saw this, I immediately knew this was a typo. The R and T keys are next to each other on a keyboard, so it’s obvious the guy accidentally typed the T instead of the R.

But, for God’s sake, USE SPELLCHECK! Then you’d know it’s not only obviously misspelled, it’s two words.

Of course, what would be a networking meeting without someone uttering something ridiculous? The other night, I heard a hairdresser say, “Today, I was working on Audrey Hepburn.”

Really? You do know she died in 1993 and is buried in Switzerland? That’s some trip you took. And how difficult was it to dig her up? What did her hair look like after all these years? Did you also shampoo it?

Now, I know she meant to say she was working on a woman’s hair that resembled a style Audrey Hepburn once wore, perhaps from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

But you’ve got to be able to speak clearly and concisely or your credibility takes a hit.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Read the Labels and Decide for Yourself

My daughter is quite the activist, so much so that she was voted Class Activist by her high school class.

Most of her activism stems from a desire to see women treated equally, but sometimes she moves into gender-neutral areas.

Such as water.

She recently asked me if I’ve ever read the label of a Dasani water bottle. I hadn’t, so she showed me, asking me to pay close attention to the last ingredient:


Salt. It makes you thirsty.  According to Indiana public media, when the thirst center in your brain goes on alert because things are too salty and the body needs water to dilute the salt, that’s when you start to feel thirsty. The kidneys help dilute the salt too by slowing down urine production and conserving water.

My daughter said she thinks Coca-Cola, which owns Dasani, has salt added so you will drinik more because you’re thirsty from all that salt. Time magazine begged to differ, writing in 2014 , “The additives being put into water are those naturally found in water and the quantities of these additives are likely too small to be of much significance.”

Take a look at the second-to-last ingredient. Recognize it? It’s the third drug in the cocktail used to execute by lethal injection. I seriously doubt there’s enough in a bottle to kill you, but it’s still interesting.

So, here’s the point: Read the labels, and then decide if the words are really a conspiracy or just a list of ingredients.

Until next time! Use the right words! 

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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