Via nominations for the 2005 Weblog Awards I found Language Log, where they are currently musing over our president's "growing disfluency."
I liked two posts on the awful prose of Dan Brown - it astonishes me how many people happily plowed through The Da Vinci Code. I found it unreadable, infuriatingly so.
(Which just goes to show, yet again, that I can't keep up. As an opinionated slip of a lass visiting MacDonald's for the first time, I confidently exclaimed: "Oh, this is a stupid idea, and these hamburgers are bad. This will never succeed.")
I also liked a post called Dave Barry, linguist. It reminded me how, even in dark times, Barry used to make Zed and me laugh ourselves silly.
Ask Mr. Language Person...
Q Please explain the correct usage of the phrase "all things being equal." A It is used to make sentences longer.
WRONG: "Earl and myself prefer the Cheez Whiz."
RIGHT: "All things being equal, Earl and myself prefer the Cheez Whiz."
Q Please explain the expression: "This does not bode well." A It means that something is not boding the way it should. It could be boding better.
WRITING TIP FOR PROFESSIONALS: To make your writing more appealing to the reader, avoid "writing negatively." Use positive expressions instead.
WRONG: "Do not use this appliance in the bathtub."
RIGHT: "Go ahead and use this appliance in the bathtub."
TODAY'S BUSINESS WRITING TIP: In writing proposals to prospective clients, be sure to clearly state the benefits they will receive:
WRONG: "I sincerely believe that it is to your advantage to accept this proposal."
RIGHT: "I have photographs of you naked with a squirrel."
GOT A QUESTION FOR MISTER LANGUAGE PERSON? That is not our problem.
The critical question now facing the scientific community is: WHY do herring break wind? Scientists quoted in the article speculate that the herring might be using these sounds -- which they make mainly at night -- to communicate with each other.
This raises another question: What, exactly, would a herring need to communicate? I mean, we're talking about creatures with roughly the same IQ as a Tic-Tac. They are not down there discussing Marcel Proust. My guess is they're probably breaking wind to convey extremely simple messages such as: "Hey, it's dark!" "I know! The same thing happened last night!" "Who said that?" "Me!" "Who are you?" "A herring!" "Wow, that's amazing! I'm also a herring!"
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