usingtherightwords

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Is Collusion About Russians a Crime?


You probably think I’m going to get political with this post, but I’m simply dealing with words.

A couple of days ago, Rudy Giuliani was quoted on CNN as saying, “I don’t know if that’s even a crime, colluding about Russians.”

It’s not. Colluding with Russians might be, but colluding about Russians isn’t.

To collude is “to act together through a secret understanding, especially with evil or harmful intent” and “to conspire in a fraud.”

Acting together through a secret understanding about Russians makes no sense. Nor does  conspiring in a fraud about Russians.

Say what you want about Giuliani’s intellect. Say what you want about Trump and the company he keeps. Heck, say what you want about whether you think collusion with Russia is a crime and if the House of Representatives should impeach the President as a result.

But if Trump and his cronies were only guilty of colluding about Russians, there’s no crime as far as I can read.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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July 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outdated Facts Means Outdated Words


Although Hanukkah began on Tuesday, my family got together on Sunday for our annual family Hanukkah gathering. In addition to the usual money I get, I received “The Bathroom Trivia Book: Nuggets of Knowledge for America’s Favorite Reading Room.” This interested me, and then I saw that this book was published in 1986.

That got me REALLY interested. I figured that there were some facts presented therein that are no longer true (so, therefore, the wrong words were being used).

Sure enough, I found some. First comes the book “facts,” then today’s, culled from numerous online sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state websites and some general knowledge I know.

  1. Women get married, on average, at age 21; men at age 23. Today, it’s 27 and 29.
  2. The only person whose birthday is a legal holiday everywhere in the U.S. is George Washington. Today, Martin Luther King joins him.
  3. Marilyn Monroe was the inspiration behind Tinker Bell in Disney’s “Peter Pan.” Nope, it was actress Margaret Kerry.
  4. The most common surname in the word is Chang (Zhang). Now, it’s Li (or Lee).
  5. Herbert Hoover lived the longest after leaving the presidency: 31 years.  Today, Jimmy Carter is at almost 37 years and counting.
  6. Park Street is the most popular street name. Today, it’s fifth (Second is first), but it’s still the most popular that isn’t a number.
  7. The three closest countries to the U.S. are Canada, Mexico and the Soviet Union. Of course, the USSR doesn’t exist anymore. Russia is now the third.
  8. And I end on a sad note. The World Trade Center has 43,600 windows. Today, it doesn’t exist.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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

I “Refer” You to Something I “Alluded” to Earlier


Allude and refer are common-enough words that often are misused — obviously, because otherwise why would I be mentioning them?

I hear refer almost every day. People refer to something all the time, or they refer a person. The problem arises when someone hasn’t directly stated anything and says, “Well, I referred to that but you didn’t understand me.”

Refer means to mention it directly. If you want someone to read between the lines, or make an inference, you need to use allude because it means to speak of something without mentioning it.

A problem arises when a person says something similar to the headline above. It could mean that the speaker is repeating what he/she previously said and the audience didn’t catch it. If that’s the case, use refer.

Some could argue that it might be more correct to say, “I’m alluding to something I referred to earlier.”

To which I respond, “Please repeat. I missed both.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Premier” Attended the “Premiere”


I don’t regularly see premiere and premier misused, but when I do, chances are someone’s using premiere when they mean premier.

Premier, of course, refers to a ruler such as Russians Vladimir Putin, Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, etc., although its true definition is “first in position, rank, or importance” which applies to a ruler. It also can mean “first in time” or “earliest.”

Premiere, of course, refers to a first public performance or showing.

However, my dictionary also lists premiere as an adjective meaning premier. This goes back to 1768, although I can’t think of a time I saw the words used this way.

So keep it simple. Putin wants to see “Swan Lake?” Let him.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

October 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using the Right Words is Easy When You Have a Choice


Our language is so diverse, colorful, large and several other adjectives I can’t think of, that we have a seemingly unending list of words that are spelled in more than one way — and each one is correct! Who would have thought?

Just pick one of the following and use it consistently:

adviser/advisor — It could be your lawyer/attorney or your dietitian/dietician.

Czar/Tsar — refers to the rulers of the First Bulgarian Empire (913-1018), Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1422), Serbian Empire (1346-1371), Russia (1547-1917) and Bulgaria (1908-1946)

dissociate/disassociate — One letter is all it takes.

half/half of — Everybody now: Why use two words when one will do?

Hanukkah/Chanukah/Chanuka/Hanukah — etc.

human/human being — Which to use? Think about this: Too err us human being; to forgive, divine.

miniscule/minuscule — The word with a u is more correct and more often used.

Mohammed/Muhammed — refers to the Islam’s chief prophet. Followers are Moslem/Muslim.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Suffer from Writer’s “Bloc?”


Years ago, when there was a Soviet Union and our president called it the “Evil Empire,” there were several countries, either swallowed by the Soviets or allied with the Soviets, that we considered our mortal enemies. But the USSR was the big one.

People called this alliance many things, one of which was the “Soviet Bloc.” This is the correct use of the word.

As I was in school at the time, there inevitably was some dunderhead who called it the “Soviet Block.”

To me, that person was a blockhead.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

October 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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