usingtherightwords

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How to Speak English, by George Carlin


My love and admiration for George Carlin knows no limits. I recently discovered what I think is an audio book of Carlin talking about how too many people (media types in particular) make mistakes with the language.

Here are excerpts.

forte is pronounced fort and means “specialty.” The Italian word forte is pronounced “FOR-tay” and tells the musician to play loud.

irony vs. coincidence — Irony deals with the opposite of what was to be expected. So, two baseball players from the same town making the major leagues and wearing the same uniform number is coincidence. If a diabetic is killed by a truck carrying insulin, that’s irony. If a football player suffers a career-ending injury, and if that player’s son later suffers the same injury, it’s coincidence. If the son causes the same injury to someone else, it’s ironic. But of the son causes the same injury to the son of the father who injured his father, that is the ultimate in irony.

prodigal — It does not mean “wandering” or “leaving and then returning.” It means “recklessly wasteful or extravagant.” Read the Book of Luke’s story about the Prodigal Son and you’ll see.

sour grapes — It does not refer to jealousy or envy or being a sore loser. It is a rationalization. In Aesop’s Fables, the fox rationalizes that, had he been able to jump high enough to reach the grapes, they probably would have been sour.

celibacy vs. chastity — One refers to not being married; the other refers to not having sex.

momentarily — It means “for a moment” not “in a moment.”

presently — It means “in a moment.”

no other option/alternative — It’s redundant.

light year — It’s a measure of distance, not time. It measures the distance light will travel in a year, which is about 5.88 trillion miles.

implosion — It isn’t the act of collapsing a building with explosives. That’s an explosion or series of explosions that causes the building to collapse inwardly. An implosion is a scientific phenomenon in which something bursts inward instead of outward.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for only $14.95.  Order here.

leebarnathan.com

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October 11, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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