usingtherightwords

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A Riddle I Can Appreciate


When I go to networking meetings, I expect to hear some kind of nonsense coming out of people’s mouths. But recently, one guy got up and offered a riddle: What is an eight-letter word in which you take away one letter, it leaves you with a different word, and then if you take away another letter, it leaves you with yet another word, and so on?

Actually, this guy usually offers riddles: “Who makes it has no need of it. Who buys it has no use for it. Who uses it can neither see nor feel it. What is it?” (A coffin)

Or “What is light as a feather but not even the strongest man in the world can hold it for more than a few minutes?” (Air)

But this one, really impressed me. The answer is starting.

Take away the second t, and you get staring;

Take away the a, and you get string;

Take away the r, and you get sting;

Take away the t, and you get sing;

Take away the g, and you get sin;

Take away the s, and you get in;

Take away the n, and you get I.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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January 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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

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

Smart-aleck Move at the Networking Meeting


At one of my networking meetings, as we went around the room giving our membership introductions (aka 30-second commercials, aka elevator speeches), a woman who already gave hers stood up and apologized for interrupting.

“I have great news,” she said, “Darren is going to have a baby!”

People applauded. People shook his hand. People slapped his back.

I stood in front of the microphone and said with a smirk on my face, “No, he’s not. He can’t. But his woman is.”

She laughed and said, “Lee Barnathan, sit your ass down!”

She’s the same woman who claims this group is like a family, but I’m not sure she meant the laughter. If this group is a family, then I’m the smart-aleck uncle.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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

People Are At It Again


After being sick for most of a month, I have returned to networking meetings and have heard the nonsense that comes out of people’s mouths. I had hoped the world had changed in my absence; sadly, I knew better.

I do bald hair — Is there such a thing?

Leave a message and leave your phone number. Please repeat it twice — The message, the phone number, or both?

My favorite movie is “Hear No Evil, See No Evil” — Really? The name of the movie starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor is “See No Evil, Hear No Evil.”

His favorite movie should be “Liar” with Jim Carrey — I’m guessing his favorite movie really is “Liar Liar” with Jim Carrey.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

August 31, 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

Words Get in the Way of Networking


When it comes to networking, I find it funny that a person who needs to use the right words to sell himself or herself often says things that make me wonder. Following are actual words I heard networkers utter.

funny hanky panky — I don’t usually find anything funny about hanky panky, unless it’s like something from the “American Pie” movies.

cleaning maids — Is there any other kind? (NOTE: I know a maid is “a young unmarried woman,” but that is a shortening of the original word, maiden.)

protect against free radicals — as opposed to paid radicals?

We’re holding a Shakespearean meeting: on the Ides of March — First of all, the Ides of March (March 15) predates Shakespeare’s play. S0 does Julius Caesar’s assassination — by about 1,600 years .

I got married to my wife — No, you got married to a woman who then became your wife.

It costs just $8,000 a month, $100,000 a year — No, it costs $96,000 a year.

I have a prosthetic shoulder, which some of you know about and some of you don’t — That about covers it.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Networking Nonsense That Makes Me WRITE IN CAPITALS!!!!!


The year might be almost ended, but the ridiculous and humorous things I hear at networking meetings doesn’t end just because the calendar is about to.

Here are four more:

Power of attorneys — Like with mothers-in-law and similar words, this is a common mistake. But the reason I mention this is that AN ATTORNEY SAID THIS!!!!

An electrician who fixes Christmas trees — No, the electrician fixes the lights that are on the Christmas trees. A lumberjack (“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK”) fixes the trees. Or a tree surgeon.

Hi, I’m (name) and I’m actually a virtual chef — I removed his name to save his embarrassment. Actually a virtual chef? So, you mean you actually are not formally recognized as a chef? THEN WHY ARE YOU AT A NETWORKING MEETING SELLING YOURSELF AS SUCH?

I want to say something really quick — And then he spoke for a minute.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

December 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Networking Nonsense Again


When I attend networking meetings, I make sure I have either pen and paper or the notepad function on my phone handy. That way, I can document the silly, dumb and annoying  things people say. These include the following:

I got a call from my daughter. She was on vacation in Hawaii with her husband and my granddaughter — While there is nothing grammatically wrong with this sentence, I’m always annoyed that people tend to skip a generation and make it all about them. I find it more correct to say, “…with her husband and their daughter, my granddaughter.”

Maybe it’s because I don’t have any grandchildren, but I don’t understand this line of thinking and, therefore, this line of language.

I wrote a strong letter — How do you know it’s strong? Did it bench-press 200 pounds? Did it run a mile in less than four minutes? Of did you write a strongly-worded letter?

I went and got my family pictures taken and I said, “You can’t put hair on my head,” and he did. He airbrushed some on — No, he hair-brushed some on.

Thank you for people who sent condolences for my mom — The problem is, it’s the mom who died. I doubt she got the condolences.

She made everything from scratch — When I hear this, I always imagine somebody scratching their fingers across a surface, and the food suddenly appears. Too bad that’s never worked for me.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overheard (It Never Gets Old)


I love networking meetings. You hear some great stuff.

1. A skin-care professional planning an event said, “See me for your cell phone number.”

Don’t you already have your number?

2. Someone else said, “The holidays are coming. It makes a great gift certificate.”

The holidays make a great gift certificate?

3. The guest speaker, talking about himself, said, “I came here when I was young. I don’t remember when. I was a baby.”

None of us remember such things. We rely on our parents or relatives to tell us.

4. Somebody talking about the upcoming election said, “Whoever is president on Nov. 9, we have to get ready.”

I can easily predict who will be president on Nov. 9: Obama. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be president-elect and won’t become president until taking the oath of office on Jan. 20.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for only $14.95.  Order here.

leebarnathan.com

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Good, the Bad, and the Funny of Networking


More networking meetings means more crazy word choices. But here also are some that I think are really good.

Good: A massage therapist’s tag line: If your back is aching, a massage appointment went you should be making.

Bad: A networking group was having a lip-sync contest. One man got up and said, “Guess what I’ll be singing?” (Uh, nothing, it’s a lip-sync contest.)

Good: A plumber’s tag line: We drain your sinks, not your pockets.

Funny: A man showed me a picture of a sign on a door of a medical doctor of “Adult and Robotic Urology.” He told me, “I didn’t know robots needed a urologist!”

Good: A realtor’s tag line: Everything I touch turns to sold.

Good: Another realtor’s tag line: If you have a realtor, great. If you want a great realtor, call me.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for only $14.95.  Order here.

leebarnathan.com

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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