usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

Art Linkletter Would Be Proud


If I were to create a TV show, I would call it (and apologies to Art Linkletter and his heirs) “Networkers Say the Darndest Things.” (Also, apologies to word snobs everywhere, as darndest is not really a word.)

Put your hands together — Think about it: If you put your hands together, you’re not really clapping your hands.

Keep your eyes out for … — I’d rather keep my eyes in their sockets, thank you very much.

I was a child of a single mother — Now, follow me on this. In its most technical sense, everyone has a single mother (egg donor) and father (sperm donor). I know people will say, “What about same-sex families?” But when it comes to creating a new life, everyone has one biological female parent and one biological male parent. There is no other way for humans.

Fun fact, earthquakes — Earthquakes are not fun.

What’s the one good thing about getting kicked off a Delta Airlines flight? — The recent news story was about a person who got kicked off a United Airlines flight, so the joke doesn’t work.

We now have two mikes — and three Larrys.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Really What It Is?


Apologies to Art Linkletter: People sometimes say the dumbest things!

Take for example: It is what it is.

First, what does that mean? It’s redundant and circular reasoning, which is a fancy way of saying you want to end up with where you began. Logically speaking, a=b so b=a. That’s a fallacy.

Second, it’s a cliché, so you shouldn’t use it.

When did this bit of nonsense enter our lexicon? I found a reference that dates to 1689 and John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Understanding: “essence may be taken for the very being of anything, whereby it is what it is.”

Then I found Bill Clinton’s infamous-yet-ridiculous “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” He made a fool of himself a full 311 years after Locke. Talk about a slow-moving cliché.

Finally, I found it in plenty of sports stories, because clichés and sports go together. It lets people say something while saying nothing. If you don’t believe me, watch this scene from “Bull Durham.”

When I was a child, we often greeted people with “What it is?”

Thankfully, I found the urban dictionary that gave plenty of meanings. My favorite: definition one: “Fuck it.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment