Posts Tagged ‘English’
English is a difficult language. I understand that. If I remember correctly we are second only to every Asian language out there. Well, that sounds stupid because there are a lot of Asian languages out there, but we are way more difficult than anything Germanic, Latin, Nordic, you name it. And, just to make it harder, we don’t stick to our own language – we import a lot of other words . . . or ‘kidnap’ may be a better term. (Importing would imply some kind of order and regulation to the use of non-english words, and that’s clearly not the case.)
All that being what it is, there are still so many places you can go to find out what you need if you aren’t sure. If you don’t speak English as your native tongue, then you should just assume you are missing something and get everything checked before you print it. And this goes double before you advertise with it!
I had a flyer come under the door at work one day. As you can guess I work with a bunch of geeks. So it was no surprise that we didn’t buy any toner or copier supplies from the company that slipped us the ad that said “Fast as Lightening!” (Ironically, they were pushing toner, which of course should darken things. Gotta love that.)
A flyer on my car one day proclaimed “Foreign company need help – looking for delivery people, editors, sales representatives.” Yes, editors do need to be on their list. So maybe that was just a cry for help. Because that one doesn’t even make it by Word’s Spelling and Grammar check.
I’m writing this to make a plea to Americans everywhere. Give just five minutes of your time. Not for the homeless or the hungry, not for the children or for any charity. For all of us.
We all know those things our parents and teachers told us: Do it right the first time. Go the extra mile. But a lot of us don’t. And the issue is this – that extra mile, that ‘getting it right’ is often only about five extra minutes of time.
Think about the words to Kanye West’s “Stronger”. This song was immensely popular and spawned several covers. Though Kanye is often great with the words, he owes us that extra five. Did he really think it was okay to leave us with rhymes like “since OJ wore isotoners” and “Klondike”? They appear to be the only rhyming words within his reach at the time. But an extra five minutes could have resulted in so much more. Clearly he’s capable, but no, we get left with what could have been a truly great song had he put in the extra five.
While we’re on the topic of music, think about what it would have meant if Alanis Morrisette had taken an extra five minutes and made friends with a dictionary. It wouldn’t even have to be a big one. Even a small, elementary, pocket dictionary would have contained all she needed to know that not one thing in that stupid song was actually ‘Ironic’. “Isn’t it ironic?” No, Alanis, it wasn’t.
For some reason, people have forgotten what a qualifier does. And because of this these words have been tossed about like seals in a shark pool.
In case you were unaware, a qualifier lessens a meaning. For example: Sylvia can be a redhead or (qualified) sortof a redhead. In the second instance we know that Sylvia’s hair might be disputed as ‘red’.
I’d also like to point out that Word gives that nasty red underline to ‘kindof’ and ‘sortof’ as these aren’t real words. And I know that some of you may be cringing at the very use of them. But I’m okay with new words. I like words, legit or not. I am a firm believer that if you don’t know of a word for the situation, you should use existing words to cobble a new one together. But you don’t abuse the grammar. The rules are what allow us to know what’s going on. A smart man is quite different from a smarting one.
My little brother once said that bad milk had a foresmell. You know this, that very faint odor that tells you something is wrong with the milk (even though you often ignore it and take that first, sputtering sip anyway.) There’s no word for ‘an indicative odor that prefaces a fermented food’. ‘Foresmell’ follows the rules using a common word and a known prefix. I think we should adopt it and kudos to my brother for making it up.