usingtherightwords

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Complement/Compliment and Other Grisly/Grizzly Errors


I was looking through my stylebook looking for something to write about when I came across this entry: 

Grisly, grizzly Grisly is horrifying, repugnant. Grizzly means grayish or is a short form for grizzly bear.

Hmm, I thought. Do people really mix these two up? Since there’s an entry, I assume people do. I’m glad I never have.

But that got me thinking. Since these are homophones, there are others I’m sure people confuse all the time. I immediately thought of one: there/their/they’re. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen there used for the possessive their or the contraction for they are (I can, however, count the number of times I’ve see their or they’re used for the adverb there: zero).

Here are some commonly misused homophones — not homonyms. Homonyms are words that share a spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, although they could be spelled the same. So, some homophones are homonyms.

Accept/except — Accept means to receive. Except is a preposition that indicates exclusion.

Affect/effect — Affect is a verb that indicates influence. Effect usually is a noun that indicates a result.

Buy/by — Buy means to purchase. By indicates location. Whenever I see these misused, I assume somebody meant to type the u but didn’t.

Capital/capitol — This is one I’ve seen a lot lately, and always used correctly. Capital refers to a city, wealth or resources, or an uppercase letter. Capitol is the building where lawmakers meet — or where insurrectionists storm.

Compliment/complement — I see this pair misused more than any other on this list. Compliment is an expression of praise. Complement refers to something that enhances, goes with or matches.

Principal/princple — This is another one I see misused frequently, and always in one direction. I see people using principal, the head of a school or a sum of money, when they mean principle, a basic truth.

Than/then — Than is used to compare. Then indicates time.

Weather/whether — One refers to the atmosphere, the other is a conjunction to introduce choices.

Your/you’re — One is a pronoun, the other a contraction for you are. I’ve seen your misused for you’re but not the other way around.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compliment/Complement and Other Grisly Misused Word Pairs


I was looking through a stylebook looking for something to write about when I came across this entry: 

Grisly, grizzly Grisly is horrifying, repugnant. Grizzly means grayish or is a short form for grizzly bear.

Hmm, I thought. Do people really mix these two up? Since there’s an entry, I assume people do. I’m glad I never have.

But that got me thinking. Since these are homophones, there are others I’m sure people confuse all the time. I immediately thought of one: there/their/they’re. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen there used for the possessive their or the contraction for they are (I can, however, count the number of times I’ve see their or they’re used for the adverb there: zero).

Here are some commonly misused homophones — not homonyms. Homonyms are words that share a spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, although they could be spelled the same. So, some homophones are homonyms.

Accept/except — Accept means to receive. Except is a preposition that indicates exclusion.

Affect/effect — Affect is a verb that indicates influence. Effect usually is a noun that indicates a result.

Buy/by — Buy means to purchase. By indicates location. Whenever I see these misused, I assume somebody meant to type the u but didn’t.

Capital/capitol — This is one I’ve seen a lot lately, and always used correctly. Capital refers to a city, wealth or resources, or an uppercase letter. Capitol is the building where lawmakers meet — or where insurrectionists storm.

Compliment/complement — I see this pair misused more than any other on this list. Compliment is an expression of praise. Complement refers to something that enhances, matches or goes with.

Principal/princple — This is another one I see misused frequently, and always in one direction. I see people using principal, the head of a school or a sum of money, when they mean principle, a basic truth.

Than/then — Than is used to compare. Then indicates time.

Weather/whether — One refers to the atmosphere, the other is a conjunction to introduce choices.

Your/you’re — One is a pronoun, the other a contraction for you are. I’ve seen your misused for you’re but not the other way around.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whether or Not You Understand the Weather…


We’re in the middle of winter, and there has been some really severe weather across the country. It got me thinking if I really understand when certain terms are used or not.

For example, blizzard. According to the National Weather Service, this kind of storm exists when there are wind speeds at least 35 mph and enough snow is falling or blowing to limit visibility to less than a quarter mile for at least three hours.

We also recently had heavy snow in places. That means at least four inches of snow fell in 12 hours or six inches fell in 24 hours. I saw reports of freezing rain. This is rain that falls as a liquid but freezes when contacting the ground or a structure on the ground.

Then there is nor’easter. The National Weather Services uses this term to describe storms that exit or move north along the East Coast, producing winds that blow from the northeast.

Remember the polar vortex? That’s the gigantic circular upper-air pattern in the Arctic, but because of climate change, the jet stream that normally keeps the cold in the Arctic is coming south into the U.S., bringing ridiculously cold weather here — cold enough to freeze water on Texas ceiling fans — while letting warmer weather creep north.

Finally, wind chill factor. We know that’s the temperature that it feels like when the wind blows on our exposed skin. You can calculate it at weather.gov, or you can multiply the wind speed by .7 and subtract that number from the air temperature. So, if it’s 15 degrees outside and the wind is blowing at 25 mph, the wind chill is 2.5 degrees.

Whether or not you understood the weather, hopefully you understand it better now.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Current Events + Comedians = Laughs


Current events are a great place to mine for good comedy, if these comedian’s lines are any indication. I heard them last weekend on a Zoom show.

Andrew Slater recalled early in the COVID pandemic that Tom Hanks caught it, and so many people prayed for him. Now, when we hear somebody got it, we say, “You idiot!”

Slater said he hasn’t caught the virus, but if he ever does, he won’t be telling anyone. If someone invites him over, he’d say, “I’ve got to stay home for two weeks. I got a DUI.”

Drew Thomas said COVID has caused middle school basketball teams to choose sides differently. Instead of shirts vs. skins, it’s mask vs. no mask.

Thomas also said this was the first Christmas where a ventilator made for a nice gift.

Armando Anto put it well: We’re getting vaccines against COVID, but not for stupidity.

Besides COVID, the comedians also touched on some current events. Slater touched on the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. People say they didn’t see it coming, but Slater thinks that if somebody had installed a Ring doorbell on the door, “They would have seen it coming from three counties away.”

Homelessness is a big national problem, and Anto had some thoughts about it. “Don’t call them homeless,” he said. “Call them middle class.”

Anto lives in Los Angeles, and in many areas, the homelessness is so great that little tent cities have popped up. Once, he walked around such a city near a lake in Echo Park. He saw a tent big enough to be three bedrooms, and it had a view of the lake.

He went up to a homeless man and asked how he could have such a tent. The man replied. “I don’t live here. I rent it out on Airbnb.”

They’er all on YouTube. Check them out.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

February 3, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Laughter, Often at Zoom’s Expense


With comedy clubs closed and cruise ships shuttered, comedians have to ply their craft in other places. Many have taken to Zoom, and they’re not happy about it.

Amanda Cohen likened live shows to heroin. “Zoom is methadone,” she said.

Richard Sarvate said of performing on Zoom, “This is not what I meant when I said I want to be an international comedian.”

He also said there’s one big problem with Zoom: “I have amazing calves.”

Sarvate said that he never thought he’d be performing for so many squares. Cory Michaelis told the audience that he didn’t see them as squares. “You’re all rectangles to me,” he said.

Of course, the comedians touched on other topics, too.

Jason Love longed for simpler times: When there was just one strain of COVID.

Love also pointed out a couple of musical contradictions: “All you need is love,” but “What’s love but a second-hand emotion?” “Anything you want, you got it,” but “You can’t always get what you want.”

Cohen said she had recently moved to Los Angeles and admitted she was on the older side, so she didn’t have to worry about the casting couch. “If I had a chance to sleep my way to the top, I slept through it,” she said. “Tinder’s not for me. The font’s too small. … I used to say I’ll never find a perfect man. Now, it’s I’ll never find a man. Perfect.”

She also recently lost weight. “I found out my stomach held up my boobs,” she said. Then she pointed to her chest. “This is a $100 bra and $75 worth of boob.”

Sarvate found it funny that when he rode Greyhound, the driver said, “Thank you for choosing Greyhound.” He tapped the driver on the shoulder and said he didn’t choose Greyhound. “I wish they would say, ‘Thank you for being fiscally irresponsible so you had to choose Greyhound,’” he said.

Michaelis said he lives in Seattle but doesn’t drink coffee or smoke weed. His friends wonder how he can live in Seattle.

He said he just celebrated his 30th birthday in June … 2010. That was the same year his parents celebrated their 30-year anniversary — five months earlier. He did the math. 

“I wasn’t premature. My father was!” Michaelis said.

Michaelis said he used to be a high school sex education teacher, which was funny because he was the only virgin.

Nick Guerra admitted he wasn’t very tall. Most pants in his size says OshKosh B’gosh on them.

He also said there are two modes in every relationship: “I want you” and “I want you to stop bugging me.”

They’re all on YouTube. Go watch them and laugh.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

January 19, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tommy Savitt: A New (to Me) Comedy Hero


I tend to write in a direct, no-nonsense style, emphasizing honesty, accuracy, brevity and clarity in all I do. Every once in a while, I come across a comedian who does the same thing, only with that twist of misdirection comedians often use. Tommy Savitt, who calls himself “The Tommy Lama,” is one such comedian. 

Following is some of the best ones I heard him perform at a New Year’s Eve Zoom show. Keep in mind that of you read these lines in a strong Brooklyn accent (think Andrew Dice Clay, although I’m guessing Savitt doesn’t welcome the comparison), they’re that much funnier.

“We gotta go back to traditional therapy … like electroshock. Your insurance might not cover it. That’s why I make my jumper cables available.”

“We make a lot of mistakes in our lives. You might be sitting next to one of them.”

“The problem with dating people half your age is that they get older.”

“Cigarettes are much more addictive than heroin. I say make the switch. No one suffers from secondhand crack.”

“Marijuana is the active ingredient in brownies. Brownies are a gateway drug to more dangerous substances … like Taco Bell.”

“L.A. is where I became a sought-after model: the ‘before’ picture.”

“Constipation is when your body likes food so much, it doesn’t want to let it go.”

He has videos on YouTube. Check him out.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ban” Vs. “Permanent Suspension”


The late, great George Carlin spoke about how we use words that “hide the truth.” He referred to euphemisms and gave examples: “shell shock” became “post traumatic stress disorder,” “torture” became “enhanced interrogation,” and “death” became “passing away.”

I thought of Carlin’s wit, wisdom and genius as I read about how Twitter “permanently suspended” Donald Trump’s @realdonaldtrump account. 

Call it what it is: a ban

Ban, three letters, one syllable, means “to prohibit, forbid, bar.” Simple, direct, to the point. Contrast that with permanent suspension: two words, 19 letters, six syllables, means “a temporary stop that exists perpetually without significant change.”

Huh?

Many newspapers picked up on this and used ban in headlines. That Twitter chose the euphemistic language speaks to what Carlin said long ago: “American English is loaded with euphemisms. Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth so they invent soft language to protect themselves from it.”

He also said, “You can’t be afraid of words that speak the truth.” Amen, brother.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All About Christian Churches


Do you know your Christian churches? What are their official names, their histories, their rites and the names of their clergy members? Read on for an overview.

Anglican Communion — Originally the Church of England, it was Catholic until Henry VIII broke away because Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry led the English Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy that established the independent Church of England and broke from the Catholic church. He established himself as the church’s head.

Today, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. are members of the Anglican Communion. They believe in the Trinity, the humanity and divinity of Christ, Mary’s virginity, salvation through Christ, and everlasting heaven and hell. They just don’t believe in the pope’s authority.

The Episcopal Church clergy consists of bishops, deacons and brothers. A priest who heads a parish is a rector not a pastor.

Baptist — It is incorrect to use the term church unless you refer to a local Baptist church. Otherwise, use the body’s name: Southern Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention of America, Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc., National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc.

Clergy are ministers. Pastors are ministers who lead a congregation.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — This is the official name. The Disciples, led by Alexander Campbell in western Pennsylvania, merged with the Christians, led by Barton W. Stone, in 1832.

Clergy are ministers. Pastors are ministers who lead a congregation.

Church of Christ, Scientist — Also known as Christian Science Church. Founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy, who taught “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” along with the Bible, are the “dual and impersonal pastor” of the church.  

A community has a First Church of Christ, Scientist or a Second Church because that’s the order they were established in the community.

Christian is used because it teaches the word and works of Jesus Christ. Science is used to reflect God’s laws are replicable and proven in healing sickness and sin.

The church doesn’t have clergy in the usual sense. Lay people, called readers, practitioners or lecturers. lead the congregations. These can be men or women.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — This is the official name, although Mormon church, LDS church and Latter-day Saints are also used. It’s based on revelations Joseph Smith said were brought to him by heavenly messengers in the 1820s. 

The clergy consists of all worthy young men over the age of 12, who are part of the priesthood. Elders have been ordained after age 18. They may later become high priests or bishops. The head of the church is the First Presidency, made up of a president and several counselors. Minister is not used.

Community of Christ — A group that split with the Mormon church following Joseph Smith’s death.

Coptic Christian — The Coptic Orthodox Church traces its origins to the Apostle Mark in first-century Alexandria, Egypt. In fact, Copt comes from the Greek word for Egypt. They generally share Eastern Orthodox beliefs, although the teachings about the nature of Christ differ. Coptics are considered the largest Mideast Christian community.

Eastern Orthodox — A group of churches whose roots trace back to the earliest days of Christianity. They do not recognize the pope’s authority. Instead, the leader is the patriarch of Constantinople (now Istanbul), considered “first among equals” (some prefer the term metropolitan). Under him are archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons.

Churches include Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox. In the U.S., the Orthodox Church in America includes Bulgarians, Romanians, Russians and Syrians.

Eastern Rite churches — A group of Catholic churches that organized along ethnic lines from the earliest days of Christianity. They include Antiochean-Maronite, Armenian Catholic, Byzantine-Byelorussian, Byzantine-Russian, Byzantine-Ruthenian, Byzantine-Ukrainian and Chaldean Catholic.

They accept the pope’s authority, but they allow married men to be ordained. Unmarried men cannot later marry.

Evangelical — It’s a category of doctrinally conservative Protestants that emphasize the need for a definite adult commitment or conversion to faith in Christ, and they consider it their duty to persuade others to accept Christ. The National Association of Evangelicals is a interdenominational, cooperative body or conservative Protestant denominations.

Jehovah’s Witnesses — Founded in 1872 in Pittsburgh by Charles Taze Russell, believers adhere to what they say is the oldest religion on Earth, that of Almighty God revealed in the Bible as Jehovah. They regard civil authority as necessary and obey it “as long as its laws do not contradict God’s law.” They refuse to bear arms, salute the flag, participate in secular government and take blood transfusions.

The ministry has no formal titles, but there are three levels: publishers, baptized members who do evangelistic work; regular pioneers, who devote greater time to activities; and special pioneers, who are full-time workers.

Lutheran — Teachings come from Martin Luther, a 16th century Catholic priest who objected to some Roman Catholic practices and began the movement known as the Protestant Reformation. Groups include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Clergy members are ministers, but pastors lead a congregation.

Methodist — The name comes from a nickname applied to a group of 18th century Oxford University students known for their methodical application to Scripture and prayer. Groups include the United Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Methodists believe in the Trinity and the humanity and divinity of Christ. The clergy is called bishops and ministers. A pastor leads a congregation.

Pentecostal — It’s an early 20th century movement distinguished by the belief in tangible manifestations of the Holy Spirit, often in demonstrative, emotional ways, such as “speaking in tongues.” Denominations include Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Holiness Church, the United Pentecostal Church Inc. and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Presbyterian — Their roots trace to John Calvin (1509-1564), a French theologian, pastor and reformer.  There are two main branches, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church in America, on which there are several denominations. Presbyterians believe in the Trinity and the humanity and divinity of Christ. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only sacraments.

All clergy are considered ministers, but congregations are led by a pastor and a session composed of elders who represent congregants on matters of government and discipline.

Quaker — It’s an informal name for the Religious Society of Friends. It starts with George Fox, an Englishman who objected to the Anglican emphasis on ceremony. In the 1640s, he said he heard a voice that showed him the way to a personal relationship with Christ, which he called the “Inner Light,” a reference to the Gospel description of Christ as the “true light.”

Quaker practices and beliefs range from Bible-centered Christianity with pastors as worship leaders to a more liberal approach with less structured worship and a wide range of teachings. Associations include the Friends United Meeting, the Evangelical Friends Church International and the Friends General Conference.

Clergy members are called elders or ministers.

Roman Catholic — One of several Catholic religions. Followers believe the pope, as bishop of Rome, has the ultimate authority in administering an earthly organization founded by Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter held the office when he died. He is considered the first pope. 

Catholics believe in the Trinity: one God existing as three divine persons: the Father, the Son (the man Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.

Responsibility for teaching the faithful lies with the bishops. The clergy’s hierarchy is as follows: pope, cardinal, archbishop, bishop, monsignor, priest, deacon.

There are seven sacraments: the Holy Eucharist, baptism, confirmation, penance, matrimony, holy orders and the sacrament of anointing the sick.

In the U.S., districts are called archdioceses, headed by archbishops;anddioceses, headed by bishops.

Seventh-day Adventist — Seventh-day refers to the fourth commandment to observe the Sabbath. Adventist refers to the belief that a second coming of Christ is near. The teachings go back to William Miller, a Baptist layman who, from his studying the Book of Daniel, concluded the world would end in the mid-1840s. When that didn’t happen, the Millerites, split into smaller groups. One group, influenced by the visions of Ellen Harmon, is the precursor fo the practice today.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only sacraments. Clergy members are pastors or elders.

United Church of Christ — The Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the Congregational Christian Churches in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ. Jesus is regarded as man’s savior. Each local church is responsible for the doctrine, ministry and ritual of its congregation.

Clergy members are ministers; pastors lead the congregations.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

January 6, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Religion, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laugh it Up! It’s 2021!


Happy New Year! Have some laughs on me!

As I’ve written before, I love comedians, for their writing is often clever, thought-provoking and, of course, funny.

Jason Love wondered what would happen if car commercials were like political commercials. Instead of bestowing the virtues of its vehicles, Toyota would say of its competition, “Ford? Give me a break. You call yourself an Escort? No one goes with you. … I’m Toyota and I approve this message.”

He also performed a song parody about the Washington Football Team: “I’ve been through the season on a team with no name/and I still couldn’t win many games.”

At a recent Zoom show, Nancy Norton talked about growing up in the Ozark Mountains and addressed some common stereotypes.

“Not everyone lives in trailer parks,” she said. “There’s a waiting list.”

She also described the Ozark bidet: Run a garden hose through the bathroom window set the nozzle to “flowers.” “There’s a direct line between my water bill and my happiness,” she declared.

Norton admitted she isn’t young. In fact, “I’m so old, my first Easy-Bake Oven was wood-burning,” she said. “I had to chop up Lincoln Logs.”

She adopted a child when she was in her 40s; he’s a teenager now. Plus, he has ADHD. “On his report card, he also has some ADHFs,” she said.

Her mother was a nurse, Norton said, and so was she for a time. But she got out of nursing the same reason others get into nursing: “to save lives.”

Tony Deyo said you’ve got to be 100% sure you want to have a baby. “My wife was 99% sure, and I was 1% sure,” he said. “I checked the math. It added up.”

All three have videos on YouTube. Check them out.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comedians on Zoom Telling Jokes


The reactions I’ve received from my posting quality comedic writings from comedians on Zoom telling jokes lead to some more. Enjoy!

I saw a one-named comedian named Landry. He wondered why English food is so awful. “How did you conquer half the world and not learn any recipes?” he said.

Landry also asked the audience if anyone knew the official animal of Australia? Naturally, people answered “kangaroo.” Then Landry asked what the official food was. He said, “kangaroo.”

(I looked it up. There is no official food, but there are many favorites, including kangaroo, so the following joke works.)

“I don’t know any other country that eats its national animal,” Landry said. “You look at a bald eagle wrong and you get arrested.”

Landry said his girlfriend recently broke up with him, citing as reasons her dislike of his long hair and the fact he looks like a girl from the back. He said it wasn’t fair because he never commented on her big feet. He never said to her, “Let’s get you reshoed, Secretariat.”

Quinn Dahle’s mother told him she was worried about COVID. “Mom, relax. You had a good run,” he told her.

Dahle (pronounced Dale) credited his parents with teaching him about God. “I thought my last name was Dammit,” he said.

Dahle also spent time talking about his wife and family. His wife comes from a big Mexican family. They went on ancestry.com and traced back five generations, “all the way to 1986,” he said.

He said he and his wife argue about everything, including whiskers in the sink. “Every time she shaves…” he lamented.

He took offense to the term happy wife, happy life. “What about “happy hubby if she’s not chubby?”

Finally, he said his kids were adopted. “I don’t miss them,” he said.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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