usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

“Naked Photographs” and Other Misspoken Words


A guy walked up to me at a networking meeting and told me the words of the day were “naked photographs.”

Given the fallout from Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Louie C.K., John Conyers — the list keeps growing, doesn’t it? — Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken, Donald Trump, Roy Moore and Charlie Rose, I thought the words of the day (week? month? year?) were “sexual misconduct.” But I listened.

He explained that it the photo itself isn’t naked; it’s the person in the photo.

I’m guilty of using the term “naked photos,” too. It never crossed my mind that I’m really looking at “photos of a naked person.”

I’m also sure that it never crossed the minds of the people who spoke the following that they were misspeaking.

I like to say … — And then you did.

They may not be able to resuss you — The person meant resuscitate. “Resuss” isn’t a word, although there is a British-English word suss, which is slang for “investigate or figure out.” It usually is followed by the word “out.”

Like many have said, it’s December — He spoke this on Nov. 30.

Thanks to Richard C. for the words of the day. Later, he emailed a question, “How do you separate yourself from the competition?”

I responded, “I usually walk away. Sometimes, I drive.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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December 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Problems with Texting


A networker sent me this text that he received:

“I guess you missed the e-mail I sent you that I did get the Sat. Wedding gig so I was not going to be available Sat. Or Sunday. My second boss went out of town for a week and Im doing tons of work for them at there house this week. Maybe Wed. At 3:30 Malibu Library works the Topanga is to far for now cause of all the work I doing for the writers.”

The writer is American, and English is the primary spoken language, but you’d never know it from all the mistakes. Some of the problems are because of auto-correct (the capitalization of wedding, or and at, for example), but this is an example of why one must do a better job of self-editing.

Im instead of I’mThere instead of their? To instead of too? Not to mention the missing punctuation marks after 3:30 and works, and the it/them disagreement (boss is singular, but the writer uses the plural them). These are easy-to-fix mistakes.

Last week, I spoke at a networking meeting about who one must (should?) pay a professional for communications. One reason I gave was how one’s credibility is at stake with very piece of communication one sends out.

While I’m not suggesting I should be paid to edit one’s personal texts, this is nonetheless a great example a credibility gap.

Thanks to Richard C. for the text.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crazy Sentences that are Grammatically Correct


At a recent networking meeting, a fellow networker approached me and said he had seen online something called “The Worst Sentences in the English Language.” Naturally, I was intrigued and wanted him to send it, which he did.

However, the following sentences really aren’t the worst. Instead, they appear to be grammatically incorrect but in fact are just fine.

One day I shot an elephant in my pajamas.  We start with a famous one, spoken by Groucho Marx in the movie “Animal Crackers.” Ignoring the second part of the joke (How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know), it can be understood two ways: That I shot an elephant while in my pajamas or I shot an elephant who was wearing my pajamas.

The horse raced past the barn fell. The main verb is not raced but fell. We often leave out a word and the sentence still makes sense (The speech given this morning was well received leaves out the words “that was”). Here, this sentence also omits a word: The horse that raced past the barn fell.

The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families. If you realize complex is a noun (and the sentence subject) and houses is the verb, the sentence makes perfect sense.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. This one is fun. Buffalo is a city in New York. A buffalo is a bison. To buffalo is a verb meaning “to intimidate.”

So, Bison from Buffalo, New York (that’s the second and first words), who are intimidated by other bison in Buffalo, New York (that’s the fifth, fourth and third words) also happen to intimidate other bison in their community (the final three words).

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

August 29, 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

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

How Doth it Scam? Let Me Count the Ways


Dear Email Spammer/Scammer:

If you want to gain my trust/attention/money, you’re going to have to do better than this. The mistakes are so numerous as to strain belief (these are like “alternative facts,” which I’m sure you don’t understand). Still, I will point out a few in the hopes that maybe you’ll see how ridiculous you are.

  1. It’s not addressed to anyone, unless someone you know is called “Dear.”
  2. The name is spelled two different ways.
  3. It’s missing numerous commas, at least one period, and twice there isn’t space between words when there should be.
  4. “resident London?”
  5. The cancer is unnecessarily capitalized.
  6. If you’re really an American citizen, why do you write about making donations in my country? My country is your country.
  7. Nobody I know writes “crave your indulgence.”
  8. Emphasize not “emphasis.”
  9. “Sincerity” is unnecessarily capitalized.
  10. “Inasmuch” is one word, not three.
  11. “reaching out you?”
  12. “Charity” is unnecessarily capitalized.
  13. “someone” is one word, not two.
  14. No one I know says “luxury of time.” They just say “time.”
  15. You obviously haven’t heard the term “burying the lead.” This is where you put the most important part down in your letter. In your case, you buried the lead about as far down as possible because $7.5 million (note how I wrote that) and how you want assistance in giving it away is the point of this email.

Dear ,

I am Wilson Ben an American citizen but resident London where I am currently
hospitalized for treatment of Esophageal cancer and therefore, in need of your
assistance. I intend to make donations to the poor and less privileged in your
country as a matter of urgency and utmost importance to me and hereby crave your
indulgence to read this letter with with all seriousness and the desired attention
that it requires

I wish to emphasis that this proposed project is based on absolute trust, integrity
and Sincerity of purpose in order to have a consensus of like minds.

In as much as I would not completely rule out the possibility of doubts in your
heart in respect of this letter as a result of the activities of internet fraudsters
which has made genuine and legitimate businesses a bit cumbersome,I will
nevertheless, implore you to consider this piece as about my only way of reaching
out you with a view to making you a potential partner.

At the moment, I do not have much hope as I have lost my voice already and think it
is prudent that I begin to make arrangement for the management of my estate as I
have no children to survive me or inherit my estate. It is my plan to give out my
estate to Charity and I am looking for some one to assist me do this hence this
mail.It is hoped that you partner with me on this. I would appreciate a response as
I do not have the luxury of time. The amount involved is USD 7.5 Million dollars.

Best Regards,

Willson Ben

Conclusion: English is not your first language, and unless you’re trying to scam people whose English is like yours, you don’t have much of a chance to meet your objectives.

Move along.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment