usingtherightwords

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They Didn’t Hear What They Said


Listen, my children, and you shall hear, some failing words to not revere.

I heard networkers say the following, and I shake my head and wonder. In the last example, I shake my head and laugh.

You saw the launch of Elon Musk — No, I saw the launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket that carried one of Musk’s Tesla Roadster. Musk, as far as I know, is still on Earth.

I’m opening a restaurant on the moon. The food is great, but there isn’t any atmosphere — In addition to the rim shot, I’d like to add that there is atmosphere on the moon. Granted, it’s very scant, almost negligible compared to Earth and inhospitable to humans, but it’s an atmosphere just the same.

Because I’m in this group, I went to my first marijuana store — Just being in this networking group has nothing to do with going to a marijuana store.  The speaker might have meant, “Because I’m in this group, you’ll appreciate that I went to my first marijuana store.”

I thought my car was dying on the vine — OK, I’ve got two problems here. First, “dying on the vine” is a cliche, and we all know that you should avoid cliches like the plague.

Second, a car doesn’t die on the vine. Tomatoes do. Grapes do. Cars don’t. They die on the road, or in a garage or driveway; or in the case of certain sequels, on movie screens (I’m looking at you, Pixar).

Now, I realize that to die on the vine means “to fail, as from lack of support, especially at an early stage.” I know this could happen to a car — and if it did, it would be a lemon, which grows on trees and, therefore, can’t die on a vine.

What’s the biggest reason people don’t get their picture taken? They’re ugly! — A photographer asked the question; another networker answered. I wish I had thought of it.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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March 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wish I Had Entered This Trivia Contest


I was listening to the radio one morning last week when I came upon a trivia contest, with the winner receiving front-row seats to an upcoming John Mellencamp concert.

I wish I had known about this sooner, so I could have tried to enter. My wife likes Mellencamp and would have liked to see him. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the radio station I usually listen to in the mornings.

So, I listened to the contest and got every question correct, which didn’t surprise me. I recently went on a cruise in which I entered eight trivia contests, winning four and finishing second twice.

But it was the last question that, had I been playing, I might have lost despite knowing the correct answer.

The question: “True or False: There are earthquakes on the moon.”

The contestant simply answered “True” and was right. But I knew it wasn’t that simple.

Immediately, I knew how I would have answered: “Technically, the answer is false because you can’t have earthquakes on the moon; you could have moonquakes. However, if you mean, ‘Can there be seismic activity on the moon?’ then the answer is True.”

Then I thought, What if seismic relates to Earth only? I looked up the word and found the secondary definition: “of or relating to a vibration on a celestial body (as the moon) comparable to a seismic event on earth.”

I would have won. I would have annoyed the host because I was being so technical, but I would have won. And my wife would have seen Mellencamp, and I could have finally told her that my knowing what she calls “unimportant things” led to something good.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Everything “All Right” or “Alright?”


I pulled out my Tom Petty CD Full Moon Fever and enjoyed listening to it again. Then I saw one of the titles: “Alright For Now.”

That got me thinking. Is that correct?

Free had a hit in 1970 with “All Right Now.” Is that correct?

When we talk or sing, there’s no way to know if we’re saying or singing all right or alright (unless we or the musician spell it out). So when we write, which is correct?

The answer is both, although all right is more correct and more formal.

According to my dictionary, the two words evolved from the Old English ealriht. Variations in writing and speaking over time have given us not just these two but also all ready/already and all together/altogether. Since the 19th century, some have believed that alright is all wrong, but writers such as Gertrude Stein (“the first two years of medical school were alright“) and the New York Times have used it, and it remains common today.

So, enjoy the uses, whether you prefer Petty or Free.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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