usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

Networking Nonsense, Part (I Lost Count)


I belong to many networking groups. One in particular makes fun of me every time I  speak. I say in my member introduction that when you work with me, I use the fewest words as necessary because the fewer the words, the more powerful they are. But I speak for 30 seconds when everyone else speaks for 10-15 seconds.

“I find it funny,” people tell me, “that you say you use the fewest words, but then you speak the longest.”

My response: The words I use are the fewest I need to get my ideas across. I spend my 30 seconds explaining some of my various services so people know they can come to me for a wide variety of services.

I might speak for 15-20 seconds longer, but don’t misspeak like in the following examples:

I want to thank Bart for my sister — I think you should thank your parents.

I don’t need a microphone. I’m a grandma — One has nothing to do with the other.

Hepatits C, the miracle drug — I don’t know of any drug called hepatitis C, but I know the disease, and it’s no miracle.

You get to see some great singing — You actually hear the singing and see the singer.

We teamed up together — Just your basic redundancy. We teamed up is all that’s needed.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Bad This Offer Isn’t Genuine


I received the following email:

Dear Friend ,


If this message intrude into your privacy or cause you any 
inconvenience, I sincerely apologize as that's not the intended 
purpose.

I am one of the senior staff of Emirates Development Bank, here 
in ABU DHABI, UAE. We have an amount of money to the tune of five 
hundred million United State dollars (US$500,000.000.) only, 
floating in our Bank that we can re-profile for our mutual 
benefit, if you agree to cooperate with me. This is just between 
You and me, and we can split the fund in the ratio of 50/50%, as 
I do not want to be greedy. You will be the recipient and I will 
show you how we can execute the transaction successfully. There 
is no risk involved and it will be a hitch-free transaction.

If you want to work with me, kindly indicate your interest to do 
so and I will give you the details. This is strictly confidential 
and must not be disclosed to a third party please. For further 
correspondence, Kindly and urgently reply to my private email as 
follows: 

fahiim.abdul@gmail.com

My Regards,

Abdul Al Fahim

This couldn’t come at a more frustrating time. I’m having money problems, so I really wish there was somebody out there willing to share $500 million dollars. But I know it’s not the case because I don’t believe anybody really reaches out randomly on a email list. Plus, I think what he’s asking to do, split money that seems to belong to the bank, is criminal.

Besides:

  1. There’s a space after the comma in the greeting.
  2. There’s a bad space in the first paragraph.
  3. Nobody who speaks English as a first language would write “$500,000.000.”
  4. The name of the country is United States.
  5. There’s a space missing between “US” and the dollar amount.
  6. “You” is improperly capitalized.
  7. Nobody who speaks English as a first language would write “50/50%.”
  8. There’s a bad break in the last paragraph, making me think that there should have been a period after “confidential.”
  9. “Kindly” is improperly capitalized.

Also, please, nobody contact that email address.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(this headline intentionally written all lower case)


I received the following email:

this is mark fish i come back here in the state and i ask of your fund $4.8 and the home land security told me that is still in there office and i need to inform you if you still need in just emaill me your new address now for the urgent delivery
thank mark fish
call me or text (404­448­2­27­3

Although the name is Mark Fish (I’ll capitalize it correctly, thank you), the email address is from an A. Rodriguez, and it ends “.mx,” making it from Mexico. Maybe it was also written by somebody who speaks Spanish as a first language — the person certainly doesn’t speak English as a first language.

I counted 21 errors.

Also, please, nobody call or text that number.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Well, but the Words Make Me Sick


It’s never fun to get sick. It saps my energy, makes me lazy and prevents me from being productive. But now that I’m better, let’s dive in and make fun of the following utterances at networking events.

It’s going to cost $15 and $5 for kids up to 12 — Do you mean up to age 12 or do you mean up to 12 children? If it’s 12 children, how much does the 13th and every subsequent child cost?

The crabfest was a big crabfest — To paraphrase “Animal House,” Circular reasoning is no way to go through life, son.

If you’re on the list, you’re on the list — See above, although maybe you don’t want to be on the list. In that case, you’re not on the list.

We specialize in pest control, including agricultural gophers — There are 25 types of gophers indigenous to North and Central America, but I can’t find “agricultural” as one of them.

We’ve been blowing up dance floors for years, and we’ll blow yours up, too — No need to get violent. We just want to have a good time.

Thank you for my continuing shirts — Wouldn’t it be cheaper to wash the shirts?

And finally…

Person one: I’m a handyman.

Person two: Can you fix the crack of dawn?

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, They Really Said That


You never believe that people will misspeak — until they do. Here are four examples I have heard at networking meetings.

You can pay on the last day of the month, which I think is the 28th — This is April. The last day of the month is the 30th.

Prevention is the key to life — I have found sayings that prevention is the key to success,  kidney health, fighting Zika, a safer life, solving health care and a healthy life. Stevie Wonder would say songs are the key to life.

I’m currently working in an office in Tarzana — No, you’re currently standing in front of me in Chatsworth. (For those of you who don’t know, Tarzana and Chatsworth are in the San Fernando Valley.)

Some of these items are priced really well — And some aren’t?

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Better Written But Still Spam


I received the following (obviously) spam email. I usually point out how poorly written these emails are and how they’re clearly not written by someone with command of English, but this one is different. As best I can tell, there are only punctuation problems.

Dear valued member,

It has been a very long time since I emailed you about a rare investment opportunity.

You signed up to my newsletter because you were seeking to only invest in companies
which I can guarantee will go up and I only email you when I know one will.

The last stock I told you to buy went up about 1000% and this next one is guaranteed
a solid 1300% keep on reading to find out why.

INCT (incapta inc) is a drone-maker with proprietary algorithms which essentially
bring drones to life. These algorithms give the drones the capability to act
independent of a physical operator.

Because of they own this amazing technology which they developed in house, they have
been receiving huge attention from the US Army as well as several private firms
including DJI and Amazon.

A guy I work with at a mergers and acquisition firm in New York told me that INCT is
about to be bought out for $1.37 per share on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. He
has always come through for me.

While INCT may currently seem stagnant, that?s because very few people know about
this imminent deal so don’t let that fool you.

I don’t expect the stock price to swing much in either direction until the takeover
is announced next week, at which point it will shoot up to around $1.37 overnight.

You know what to do if you want to profit when this happens.

Keep it on the hush, but do act quickly.

Best Regards,
Katheryn White

First of all, I didn’t sign up for any newsletter. You got my email address from someone else.

Secondly, and this is important: I received this exact email three times from three different names and email addresses: White (White0150@jgkphotography.com), Abe Ferguson (Ferguson50112@saresllc.com) and Hassan Whitaker (Whitaker96630@business.telecomitalia.it).

I include the names and email addresses as a public service. Now, you can know that should you receive anything from these “people” and these email addresses, you’ll know to ignore them at least and report them at best.

You’re welcome.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Interference and Editorial Independence


As a reporter, stories I write often get held for a variety of reasons. The most common are because either the editor/publisher wants me to do more work on it or because there isn’t enough space in the publication.

But occasionally, a story I have written of which I am particularly proud gets held for another reason: interference.

It’s common for the editorial and business sides of a newspaper/magazine/website to butt heads, but thanks to the First Amendment, editorial independence exists and, for the most part, is respected.

Until it’s not.

Case in point: A story on a local chamber of commerce I worked hard on has been held by my publisher as a favor to the publisher of the publication that is partnered with my publication (I know this might not make sense, but I don’t want to bore you with too many details).

The reason: The publisher asked my publisher to hold it as a favor while he completes a business deal that involves said chamber. He fears that this article would derail his deal, but if the deal was complete, the article’s controversy would be moot.

My publisher showed him the story; he found it fair and balanced, and gave my publisher a choice: run it or hold it. If my publisher chose to run it, the other publisher would support it, deal be damned.

I wasn’t the only one who wanted it to run: His wife, who’s also advertising director, and my editor also strongly disagreed with his decision.

I tried to tell my publisher that this is an example of interference at the cost of editorial independence. While I didn’t break out the dictionary when talking to him, I will here because that’s what I do with this blog.

To interfere is to “interpose in a way that hinders or impedes” and “act so as to augment, diminish or otherwise affect another.”

This is exactly what my publisher has done. I can’t convince him. Last week, he told me, “I hope you will one day understand.”

I doubt it. The story has held for two weeks and counting.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Words About “Assume”


I keep hearing a cliche that drives me nuts: “When you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me.”

I completely disagree. Look at the definition. To assume means “to take as granted or true.” It has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with you.

So, when you assume, you risk making an ass of you. I don’t even enter the picture.  I refuse to be a party to this.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Frasier Syndrome,” Real and Imaginary


Years ago, my wife and I would enjoy watching “Frasier,” the sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, John Mahoney, Moose and Enzo that won a then-record 37 Emmy Awards in 11 seasons including Best Comedy five times.

I say “would enjoy” because after so many seasons, my wife noticed a pattern that drove her nuts, and I could see her point: These two characters, these psychiatrists, really should know how to behave and not get themselves in the stupid situations in which they found themselves.

We called this “Frasier Syndrome” and defined it as “the curious inability to use common sense to resolve a situation.” Many other sitcoms suffer from such a syndrome, including “Modern Family.” But even dramatic shows such as “NCIS” have characters occasionally suffer from it.

Then I found out there really is a Frasier syndrome. It’s a urogenital anomaly associated with a particular gene. If I understand it correctly, boys with Frasier syndrome present at birth with male pseudohermaphroditism, meaning the external (male) genitalia look female. By adolescence, the person is likely infertile and will suffer from kidney disease. Girls with Frasier syndrome have only the kidney problems.

That doesn’t sound very appealing, so I think I’ll have to find another name for the malady that strikes characters. Perhaps “Sitcom Syndrome?”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment