usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

Hope They Repair Better Than They Spell


While vacationing in Lake Tahoe, I saw this road sign indicating that repair work would begin Aug. 14. I don’t know what else to say. Glad I was already gone.

IMG_20170807_195743

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

Advertisements

August 17, 2017 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

All About “While”


I’m back from vacation. I whiled away my time in Las Vegas. Came home ahead $200 without gambling.

Now that I’m back, it’s back to work, and immediately I see the word while misused. This is especially true when it’s used this way: “Eddie will entertain youngsters with comedy and magic gags Sept. 13, while balloons and a unicycle are part of Alex’s juggling act on Sept. 20.” (This is from a magazine I edit; I caught the mistake, as you can see.)

While means “at the same time as.” So, in the above example, it’s impossible to use while correctly because things are happening on different days.

While I appreciate the schedule, I don’t like the word being misused.

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

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

No Day of Rest in Finding Errors


Almost wherever I go, I find writing examples that make me laugh. This past weekend, I found them in synagogue.

Each week, the temple prints up a list of upcoming activities. Four times in the coming two weeks is this news: “Summer Drop in Hebrew.”

I can nonetheless see the truth behind this: Summer vacations will take Hebrew-speaking people away from here. I guess the temple knows who’s going and when, so it can report on these four drops in Hebrew.

Oh, you mean Summer Drop-in Hebrew? When people can come by and practice their Hebrew with Hebrew-speaking people? Then why didn’t you write that?

The next day, Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, I attended a Bar Mitzvah. After the service, we gathered in the social hall, where one of the first things we saw (and this is common) was a photo of the boy with plenty of white space to write messages.

The sign said, “Please Sign With Warm Wishes.”

I didn’t know how to do that. I would have preferred signing with a pen.

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 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment