usingtherightwords

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Did I Really Lose That Money?


One of my many jobs is to officiate youth sports such as volleyball, softball and soccer. I find it a great financial supplement and it helps me get my sports fix.

One of the drawbacks of such a job is that games sometimes get canceled or postponed due to rain, fire, excessive heat or a school not having enough players to field a team. When that happens, and I can’t work the rescheduled date, I lose money.

Or do I? People tell me that I really don’t lose money because I never had it. And it’s true that lost means “no longer possessed,” among other definitions.

Yet although I never had it, I had an agreement that if I showed up and officiated, I would get paid. Circumstances beyond anyone’s control interfered with that agreement, so I did not work and did not get paid.

Maybe what I should say is, “I lost the opportunity to make the money.” Good thing I never spend the money until I get it.

Furthermore, to lose means “to suffer the deprivation of,” and I certainly feel like I suffer when I don’t get the money. My wallet is deprived. Yet the examples given with this definition are “to lose one’s job” and “to lose one’s life.” In those instances, a person would have had a job or a life before losing it; I never had the money, only an agreement.

To the wordsmith, it might seem clear that I have not lost any money. I can assure you that to the self-employed person scrambling and hustling and trying to make a decent living in a city where it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living wage, it feels like I lose money every time.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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March 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Lose Someone Who’s Dead?


Here I go again, talking about death and euphemistic language.

Today on the radio, I heard former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre talking about the recent death of this mother. The host said, “I understand you recently lost your mother.”

That got me thinking. Can you really lose someone who’s dead?

Think about it. If you can’t find something, it’s lost. A dead person isn’t lost. You know where the person died, and you know where the body is before burial or cremation. If buried, you know exactly where that person is. If cremated, you know exactly where the ashes are, until you spread them somewhere. In each case, they become lost, meaning “no longer visible.”

However, lost is also the past tense form of the word lose, and buried among the 20 definitions is this one: “to suffer loss through the death or removal of or final separation from (as a person).”

I still think that saying”I lost my parent” is a euphemism for “My parent died.” But at least it’s correct usage.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Invent a New Word? We’ve Got A Perfectly Good One


A new word recently added to the Oxford Dictionary is binge-watch, which we know means — thanks to Netflix and other streaming-video services — watching multiple episodes of a TV show, such as “Breaking Bad.”

I don’t have a problem with people doing this — heck, I’ve done it, not just with “Breaking Bad” but “Lost” and “Sherlock” and “Parks and Recreation” and “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Scooby-Doo” and “Laugh-in” and “24” and …

But I digress.

The problem I have is with the term binge-watch. It’s completely unnecessary. We already have a word to describe this behavior: binge, which means “an unrestrained indulgence.”

I can even use binge in a sentence: Last night, my wife and I went on a “Breaking Bad” binge: We watched the entire fifth season.

So, stop it, Oxford Dictionary. Stop adding unnecessary words — especially words that include the word we already have that perfectly describes what we’ re doing.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

August 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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