usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

At the Movies


I received this photo from a fellow networker. He sent with it the following comment:

“I didn’t want to buy a restroom so I had to wait until after the movie.”

I couldn’t have said it any better.

IMG950654001

Thanks to George G. for the photo and comment.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

Advertisements

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Collusion About Russians a Crime?


You probably think I’m going to get political with this post, but I’m simply dealing with words.

A couple of days ago, Rudy Giuliani was quoted on CNN as saying, “I don’t know if that’s even a crime, colluding about Russians.”

It’s not. Colluding with Russians might be, but colluding about Russians isn’t.

To collude is “to act together through a secret understanding, especially with evil or harmful intent” and “to conspire in a fraud.”

Acting together through a secret understanding about Russians makes no sense. Nor does  conspiring in a fraud about Russians.

Say what you want about Giuliani’s intellect. Say what you want about Trump and the company he keeps. Heck, say what you want about whether you think collusion with Russia is a crime and if the House of Representatives should impeach the President as a result.

But if Trump and his cronies were only guilty of colluding about Russians, there’s no crime as far as I can read.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Believe This, You Probably Believed the Russians Didn’t Affect Your Vote


I received the following email. The less said about it, the better.

Listen, for your own good, please  Stop  sending your hard earn money to Impostors/fraudsters who always claims to be Government officials and staffs of so many Banks in Nigeria, GHANA, South Africa, Benin Republic, UK , Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Canada.

I am telling you this because from our monitoring Gadget on fraud practice going on in the whole world today,I noticed that some Nigerian  corrupt officials who contacted you  previously have engage themselves with Mr.Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central bank of Nigeria to blacklist your payment file in Nigeria so that your payment will not be release on time as they are making more profit with your overdue
payment by given out loan to people both in Nigeria and Abroad .

Through our investigation in Central Bank of Nigeria few days ago with our monitoring Gadget on fraud activities, I discovered that some Nigerian  corrupt officials and Mr.Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central bank of Nigeria have been demanding unnecessary fees from you and anytime you sent money to them, they will come back with another different story in less than 48 hours to tell you to send more money again and again and at the end of it, no success on your payment release.

 Meaning that their intention is to get you frustrated so that they will have more time  to trade with your overdue payment by given out loan to people both in Nigeria and Abroad.

Anyway, I don't  know if you have take your time and ask yourself why each time Mr.Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central bank of Nigeria release OR approve  your payment, then  all of A sudden, the payment will get stopped or one problem or the other will come up?  Listen, It is because that some Nigerian  corrupt officials and Mr.Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central bank of Nigeria have blacklisted your payment
file as they are making more profit with your payment by given out loan to people .

Now in other to make things easy for you and also to remove you from too much stress, I have contacted the Nigerian Ambassador in USA Mr.Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor to visit the BB&T Bank in USA and then sign the Nigerian Fund Release Debit Approval Document on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria to release your part payment
valued US$10,000,000.00 through our Oil reserve account with BB&T Bank in USA so that Mr. Christopher L. Henson , President & Chief Operating Officer BB&T BANK in USA will be able to Debit a sum of US$10M from our Oil reserve account with BB&T Bank in USA and then transfer it to your Nominated Bank account as your part
payment.

Please kindly contact Mr. Christopher L. Henson , President & Chief Operating Officer BB&T BANK, USA through his direct contact email here in Bracket ( email deleted here   ) and endeavor to furnish him with your full Bank details for Immediate transfer of your part payment valued US$10M.

Please endeavor to let Mr. Christopher L. Henson , President & Chief Operating Officer BB&T BANK, USA to know if you want your payment by Bank to Bank transfer OR by ATM CARD.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peeping Tom Cried “Mayday!” as he Ate an Avocado at Xmas


As I kept reading Charles Harrington Elster’s book “What in the Word? Wordplay, Word Lore, and Answers to Your Peskiest Questions About Language,” I found myself fascinated by the stories of how certain words or phrases began.

So, here are some more.

Avocado — From the Aztec word ahuacatl, which Spanish conquerors mispronounced as aguacate, which is what the fruit is called today. Other Spanish speakers translated ahuacatl as “avocado.”

Jiffy — It originates from the 1785 book “Baron Munchausen’s Travels” by Rudolph Raspe (other sources call it “Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia” by Rudolf Erich Raspe), who likely invented the word and used it as a measure of time (“six jiffies”).

Mayday — From the French m’aider, in the phrase venez m’aider, meaning “come help me.” In English m’aider is pronounced “mayday.”

Mind your p’s and q’s — Elster dismisses the notion it means “pints and quarts.” He says no one is really sure what it means, but the most likely answer comes from penmanship. P and Q follow each other in the alphabet, and the lower-case versions are often confused by youngsters just learning how to write them.

Peeping Tom — He was a tailor who bored a hole in his shutter and watched Lady Godiva ride by.

The whole story, from folklore and not literature, has Lady Godiva, wife of Leofric (sometimes spelled Leoffric), Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, riding through town naked (some sources says she wore form-fitting satin) because she cared about her subjects and wanted her husband to stop taxing them so highly, which he said he would do if she rode though the city. She issued a proclamation saying everybody stay inside with the windows and shutters closed while she did this. Tom was severely punished. Some sources say he was killed, others say he was blinded. None of them explain how he was discovered.

Xmas — X is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet, chi, and stands for Christ.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cop Bought the Farm during the Dog Days


Many of my friends and associates know what I do with words, and so they often send me photos or passages demonstrating words being used correctly or, more often, incorrectly.

But one friend sent me a book. It’s a 2005 book by Charles Harrington Elster called “What in the Word? Wordplay, Word Lore, and Answers to Your Peskiest Questions about Language.” According to Wikipedia, Elster has written many books about language.

In the first part of the book, people ask questions about where phrases’ origins. Here are some.

Bought the farm — When a pilot crashed in a rural area, the owner often sued the government and got enough money to pay off the mortgage and own the farm outright.

Cop — Police are called this because in northern England, to cop meant “to capture, catch, lay hold of,” and that’s part of the job description.

Decked out — “Deck” is a verb meaning “to clothe” and “to adorn.” This is why we “deck the halls with boughs of holly.”

Dog days — In Roman times, the hottest days of summer were called caniculares dies because they believed the dog star (Sirius), when it rose with the sun, added heat.

German chocolate cake — “German” actually is Samuel German, who developed the recipe.

Green room — Elster says this term goes at least back to a 1701 play. It probably has to do with the rooms had walls painted green to give the eyes some welcome contrast to the bright lights they experienced on stage. “Probably” because no one is completely sure, Elster says.

Pinkie/Pinky finger — From the Dutch pinkje, the diminutive form of “pink.” But Elster can’t explain why the Dutch used that word to describe the little finger.

Pushing the envelope — “Envelope” refers to an aircraft’s performance limits, so when a pilot tries to do that (see: Tom Cruise’s character in “Top Gun”), he’s pushing the envelope.

Santa Ana wind — This hot wind is named for the large flow of gasses that comes out of the Santa Ana Mountains.

What the dickens/deuce — A euphemism for “what the devil.”

Thanks to Warren S. for the book.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Proper Term for Deciding a World Cup Match


I love the World Cup. Every four years, nations come together for a truly global sporting event. Since billions of people follow the sport, it truly is a world series, and the winning nation can rightfully be called “world champion” (even if it was France).

How many other sports can be credited with starting a war (between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969) and achieving peace (Ivory Coast’s civil war in 2006)? Few others.

In this tournament, I feel very smart because anybody who asked me during the knockout phase who I liked, I told them Croatia. Luka Modric was a revelation — although if I followed European football a little closer, I would have known about him since he plays for Real Madrid, which just won the UEFA Champions League.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the tournament, even getting up early to watch those early-morning matches. The one thing I didn’t enjoy — and never do — is the tiebreak procedure.

I believe the format should follow hockey. If there is a tie after regulation, take your usual 15-minute break, then play 45 more minutes until somebody scores (you can add substitutions if you’d like). Keep doing this until somebody scores, as many 45-minute periods as it takes.

But if you’re going to use the current format, at least call it by its correct name: “Kicks from the Mark.”

The FIFA Laws of the Game make it very clear that is what the procedure is called. It is not called a “shootout” or a “penalty shootout,” as I heard Fox announcers call them over and over again. Only once did I hear somebody say it correctly (I think it was Rob Stone, but I’m not certain).

First, a “penalty kick” is only awarded if a foul punished with a direct free kick occurs in the penalty area. As the tiebreak procedure happens after play concludes, there are no fouls. The word “shootout” does not appear anywhere in the Laws of the Game.

However, players are taking kicks, and they are taking them from that mark 12 yards from the goal line. Hence, kicks from the mark.

The next World Cup is November 2022 in Qatar. Plenty of time to get it right next time.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Taco Cart, Thank You and Other Networking “Gems”


My pointing out the foibles of language returns with these “gems” I heard at networking functions:

We have the delicious taco cart — I suspect the cart itself isn’t delicious, being made of metal and all. But I bet the tacos are.

She got me a great basket of thank you — What does “a basket of thank you” look like? For that matter, what does a “thank you” look like?

I’ve gone online and seen many baskets of flowers and products and goodies meant to say “thank you.” But I don’t know what a thank you looks like.

We got a new body shop coming in — I don’t think there’s enough room at the networking meeting for an entire body shop to come in. But I bet there’s room for a person representing a body shop.

His partner is another person — Obviously.

And before anybody thinks that a pet can be a partner, read the column here about a pet coming between you and your (human) partner. It’s on a website affiliated with Cesar Millan, the so-called “Dog Whisperer.”

To sum up, a survey revealed 14 percent of people would choose their pet over their significant other.

“Unfortunately, the survey isn’t asking the right question,” the author wrote. “It’s not ‘who would you choose?’ but rather ‘how in the world did it get to that point?’ ”

He can’t come in today. He’s under the weather — Since most weather occurs in the troposphere, which is basically from the ground to about 12 miles up, aren’t most of us always under the weather?

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proof that Brains and Brawn Don’t Mix


While working out in my gym, I saw this sign posted:

20180531_112433.jpg

I have written in the past about the intelligence of gym managers and general managers. This reinforces what I’ve long known.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

June 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Theatrical Performance about Puns: A Play on Words


Good writing can be many things: intelligent, thought-provoking, insightful, controversial, humorous, political and clever, to name seven.

It also can be punny, as the following examples I received from a reader show. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find some of these groan-inducing.

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

England has no kidney bank, but it has a Liverpool.

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop at any time.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never seen herbivore.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun set, and then it dawned on me.

The Native Americans were here first because they had reservations.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

The cross-eyed teacher lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils.

When you get bladder infections, urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

I got a job at the bakery because I kneaded dough.

A dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary is a thesaurus.

Velcro: What a rip-off!

Thanks to Linda S. for the puns.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Fake Imitation” is Real


Below is a photo I received from a fan. His comment to me: “So does this mean
the imitation is fake? Which taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that it’s
real, right?”

Yes.

Thanks to Richard C. for the photo.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

Fake imitation

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: