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Posts Tagged ‘Definitions’

Dear Content Providers*:

To avoid annoying people who care about the English language (i.e., me), please learn how to use apostrophes, when to use “I” and when to use “me,” and what spelling of the word you need for your sentence.

Auntie Beth is here to help. Again.

 

1. Apostrophes

As I have explained before, apostrophes have two uses: to show possession (of things or people, but not by demons) and to show that a letter is missing (sometimes forming contractions).

What the older-looking Faddel (above) should have written is:

“19 years old, financially stable, in shape, family’s healthy.”

That would mean his family is healthy. Instead, he has pluralized “family” and rendered the sentence nonsensical.

To pluralize, you DO NOT use an apostrophe. Ever. (Please stop making me have to explain this.) Perhaps Tybee Island lifeguards are spending all their time training for beach emergencies and not worrying about punctuation, but I believe in clarity.

2. I vs. me

Here it is, one more time with feeling: Use “I” when you are referring to the subject of the sentence, “me” when you are referring to the object. The linguistics scholar above should have known better. She shouldn’t feel too awful though; even Lady Gaga gets it wrong:

3. Homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

Trump is not the only one who has trouble with this if my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds are any indication. Please consider carefully which version of the word you need. I don’t want to have to keep going over this.

Thank you so much.

You’re (not “your”) a peach!
Beth

*By this I mean anyone who maintains a social media account, prepares signs, writes to someone else, etc.

Should be “teachers.”

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Dear loyal readers,

If you have been with me here for a while, you know that grammar and punctuation often are topics for posts. Many moons ago, I wrote a few posts about words I hate. I also wrote the antithesis post. Two, actually.

But I have a new list with a theme.

Always an anglophile, I’ve become even more obsessed with all things England after my recent trip. As you all know.

[Before you get your knickers in a twist (explanation below) about this obsession, just know that my fixations come and go, roughly lasting two weeks to a month (memory refreshers here, here and here). Bear with me; it’s almost over. Also, I’ve been bingeing “Game of Thrones.” Cut me some slack.]

Hence: British words I love (in alphabetical order, because I’m proper like that)

  • ace and, sometimes, aces (adjectives): excellent

Use it in a sentence, please: “That’s ace!” Trish said when her telephonophobic friend finally called her back instead of texting.

  • barmy and barking (adjectives): mad, crazy

Use it in a sentence, please: Eddie thought his wife had gone barmy for going out every weekend.

  • bollocks and bollocking (nouns): nonsense, verbal trash; trashing, telling off

Use it in a sentence, please: Si spent way too much time talking bollocks. Meanwhile, Clair gave Karl a royal bollocking for sleeping during the set. (In his defense, he did have to get up at 6 a.m.)

  • candyfloss (noun): cotton candy

Use it in a sentence, please: Her late grandmother’s hair was blue and spun into an orb like candyfloss at the circus.

  • caravan (noun): RV

Use it in a sentence, please: Hannah is contemplating a caravan rental for the music festival.

  • car park (noun): parking lot/garage

Use it in a sentence, please: Terry didn’t like to go to new places because he worried about finding adequate car parks.

  • cheeky (adjective): impertinent

Use it in a sentence, please: Gideon is becoming quite the cheeky monkey.

  • chuffed (adjective): pleased

Use it in a sentence, please: Hazel was chuffed to little mint balls.

  • dodgy (adjective): sketchy

Use it in a sentence, please: She fled to the ladies room to avoid the dodgy fellow at the bar.

  • faff (verb and noun): to waste time (v) or a time-waster (n)

Use it in a sentence, please: Dominic felt that any interaction with his family was a bit of a faff.

  • gutted (adjective): really upset

Use it in a sentence, please: Beth was gutted about what that asshole Ramsay Bolton did to Theon Greyjoy.

  • hoover (verb): vacuum

Use it in a sentence, please: She accidentally hoovered up the slip of paper on which she wrote an important email address.

  • jacket potato (noun): baked potato

Use it in a sentence, please: Do I really need to?

  • kit (noun): clothing

Use it in a sentence, please: “Come on then, get your kit off,” she had her hero say to the heroine in the sex book she was writing.

  • knackered (adjective): exhausted

Use it in a sentence, please: Cris was knackered Sunday morning after staying out so late the night before.

  • knickers (noun): panties (yes, I love this word too)

Use it in a sentence, please: I already did (see above). (Knickers in a twist = panties in a bunch)

  • pinched and nicked (verbs): stole

Use it in a sentence, please: René pinched some candy from the jar on Beth’s desk.

  • rogering (noun): sex

Use it in a sentence, please: Once the heroine had gotten her kit off, the hero gave her a good rogering.

  • rubbish (should be a noun, but Brits use it as an adjective): worthless

Use it in a sentence, please: I’m rubbish at this Twitter malarkey.

  • skip (noun): dumpster

Use it in a sentence, please: The teenager’s mother got so angry at him that she threw all his Xbox games in the skip.

  • shambolic (adjective): very disorganized, confused

Use it in a sentence, please: The shambolic mess of a woman straggled home after a night out way past her bedtime.

  • shirty (adjective): bad-tempered or aggressive

Use it in a sentence, please: Barry reminded his old girlfriend that the night of the first Tommy Stinson experience was also the night she got into a scrap at the front of the stage because some girl got shirty with her.

  • the tits (adjective): fantastic

Use it in a sentence, please: That shit is the tits.

  • wee (should be a verb, but Brits use it as a noun): pee

Use it in a sentence, please: I went for a wee,” the crazy American shouted to everyone within earshot at the club.

I have heard or read all of these in just the past month. I’ve used some of them. It’s made conversations more interesting.

(British friends, if I have got it all to cock, please make sure I’m sorted. I promise I won’t throw a wobbly.)

 

Side note: This was in the British aisle of my local international market. Pretty sure it should have been Marmite. (I was looking for mushy peas. No, they’re not gross. Shut up.)

Cheerio!
Beth

 

 

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Dear Brits,

I love you. You know I do. As I recently found out thanks to the results from the Ancestry DNA kit, I have at least 18 percent of you in my system (the geography nerd in me is a little confused by how Scotland and Wales are somehow marked separately from Great Britain, though). Look here:

Anyway, I’ve always been an anglophile, thanks to my burning desire for Adam Ant.

So when I needed time away to complete a project I’ve been procrastinating on for a year and a half, I chose your chilly, tea-soaked environs. Thankfully, I had a Delta voucher, vacation time available, and two long-time friends who live within 20 minutes of each other.

These are a few of my favorite things:

1. The pubs. Within a one-block radius in Uttoxeter, for example, I worked on my project at The Black Swan, The Old Swan, The Old Star, Ye Olde Talbot and The Vault. The Guinness was spectacular at all.

2. Coffee. I have no shits to give about tea (sorry), but you have proper coffee. I love that you feel free to order cappuccino at all times of the day.

3. Friendliness. You love Americans like mothers love their weird, wayward sons. I was a source of curiosity in every pub I visited to write. Many of you wanted to know what I thought about Donald Trump. (I try not to think about him.) Many of you were pleased at my beer of choice. Every pub played American music, which amused the crap out of me as I am the biggest fan of the Second British Invasion.

4. The TV. No one does television better than you. There is no way anyone else (except maybe the Dutch) would have given the world “Naked Attraction.” The promo line? “A daring dating series that starts where some good dates might end — naked.”

It’s not pixelated at 10 p.m. on a weeknight. I’m shocked. And hooked.

5. The language. I’m tickled at your phrases. The terms of endearment alone sold me (“Duck,” “Shug,” “Love”). I’m definitely “sorted” at the moment. I’m using “straightaway” instead of “now.” I’m in love with “posh” (the word, not the Spice Girl).

I could listen to you all day. And did:

“She wants a wee!” — said by Man One to Man Two as I was trying to slide past Man Two to get to the ladies room.

“We’ve replaced you with someone far more attractive. You weren’t doing your job, so we’ve sacked you.” — Man Three to Man Four as I was sitting in his seat at the pub.

6. Your bluntness. Take this sign, for example.

Harsh. I feel sorry for the Simon Howie haggis. They can dream, I guess.

Anyway, thank you for being you. I hope to see you again soon.

Tra!
Beth

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Dear Mr. Trump,

Good evening! I know you are gearing up for the third (and final, thankfully) presidential debate, so please read this later — like at 3:20 a.m. when you are up tweeting.

When I first wrote you back in July, I said, “I’m sure you are quite lovely in person.” As it turns out, you aren’t. And you have the dubious honor of bringing the P word into the mainstream. Imagine the fun conversations I’ve had with my kids!

1b5cb62ae34b24690eef2b82723f3999And speaking of mainstream and conversations with kids, I do have to thank you. We regular humans are having some interesting conversations that apparently should have happened long before now.

We are talking about rape culture. We are talking about saying to men, “Don’t rape,” instead of telling women, “Don’t look like you are asking for it.” We are talking about the thousands of indignities women face on a regular basis.

On Facebook today, I posted a link to a blog post titled, “It’s Not Okay,” by a writer named Molly.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-7-27-15-pm

In response, a man who was a good friend of mine in high school wrote this:

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-7-07-39-pm

While I certainly appreciate his note, that episode was not on my list of stories. I was thinking more about that time when a guy at a bar grabbed my P word just like you like to do, Mr. Trump. Or when a guy I had just started dating let himself into my apartment and replaced my sheets and shower curtain with ones on which he had drawn himself. Or when a guy assaulted me at gunpoint in college.

Yeah, those are the ones that stick out.

Every woman I know has stories like mine.

And I want to be clear for the purposes of educating you and your defender Rush Limbaugh, I did not want, ask for or agree to any of the above.

If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine, whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left. — Rush Limbaugh on his show Oct. 12

Yes, Rush, consent is the “magic key.” Without consent, a sex act is indeed rape. Even the U.S. Department of Justice says so.

So thank you, I guess, for bringing this topic more into the light than it ever has been. It gives me an extra reason to talk to my boys about how to be respectful men and not someone like you.

Sincerely (but not respectfully),
Beth

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Dear Job Seeker:

I’ve written posts about the job search in general, job fairs, Skype interviews and in-person interviews. I have not addressed email correspondence specifically, because I thought your mama taught you well.

I was wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t blame mothers. Maybe it’s our digital culture that makes people lazy and rude.

When looking for a job, however, you should be on your best behavior.

  1. Ensure your emails are professional. Often, an email is the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Make it count. A candidate recently copied me on an email to an HR recruiter. It was the first email I received from the candidate. It began with this sentence: It does not appear that my candidacy for the [REDACTED] opening has thus far been accorded the proper level of respect and professionalism. I had been on the fence about the candidate. That certainly helped me make a decision.
  2. Watch your tone. Remember that positive emails tend to come across as neutral; neutral emails read negative. Perhaps the candidate was simply neutral. (Yeah, right.)
  3. Use proper grammar and mechanics. Do not use textspeak. SYK.
  4. Don’t write a book. People often read emails on their phones. Don’t make them scroll and scroll and scroll. Get to the point.
  5. Proofread. Then get someone else to proofread the email also.
  6. Don’t be a pest. Say everything you need to say in one short email. If the person writes you back, then you can write again. Send one email to follow up on an interview. If you haven’t heard anything in two weeks after that email, send a final email. Then let it go. If the listing says “no calls or emails” then you have to respect that or risk pissing off the hiring manager.
  7. Always send a hand-written “thank you” note after an interview. It’s just good manners. Sadly,  few people have good manners nowadays. That means you will stand out in a good way.

email-cartoon

Happy writing!
Beth

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Dear People Wound Up About Halloween:

You’ve made your outrage about celebrating the “Devil’s holiday” quite clear. Fine. I hear you.

It’s true that many scholars believe that Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain — the end of harvest season and the time for pagans to stock up for the winter. The Gaels believed Oct. 31 offered a window between the living and the dead, and they wore costumes to attempt to mimic or appease evil spirits.

909653945_1382184385

Other scholars disagree and state that it originated independently of Samhain.

Regardless of that controversy, let me ask you this: Do you get similarly up in arms about Santa Claus? You should. He is a modern interpretation of the pagan belief that spirits traveled the sky in midwinter.

9688929-santa-claus-standing-with-christmas-tree-and-gifts

Do you always have a Christmas tree? Well, that’s based on a pagan tradition of bringing in greenery in winter.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? The origins of that holiday are not happy, happy, joy, joy — Pilgrims and Indians loving each other. Don’t forget that white folks killed the natives and took over their land and crops. In fact, in 1643, Gov. Williem Kieft launched a surprise attack on the Native Americans living on Manhattan Island. This joyful little event ended with people kicking severed heads through the streets. Lovely!

4269105692_2d20bdb940My point? You are a hypocrite. Many of our holidays have not-so-sacred beginnings.
My recommendation? Get a life! Relax and just enjoy our modern celebrations for what they are: a chance to do something different and have fun with your family!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my kids’ trick-or-treat bags.

Happy Halloween!
Beth

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Disorderly conduct

Warning: This post contains graphic images of medical conditions.

Dear Donald G. McNeil Jr.:

Thank you for speaking to students in my class yesterday, and for speaking to a larger group of students later. I enjoyed meeting you and hearing your tales about covering “germs and worms.”

I too have a fascination with disease. Though I do not write about it for The New York Times, I do write. Readers of this blog are forced to go with me occasionally down the rabbit hole of information about horrible things.

I learned about two new disorders this week: Cancrum Oris and Buruli Ulcer.

Cancrum Oris is straight out of a horror movie. Otherwise known as “Noma,” Cancrum Oris is a type of gangrene that only affects the face, and only appears in children. It is caused by two different bacteria and usually shows up after another serious disease such as measles or scarlet fever.

Look away now if you don’t want to see.

Cancrum Oris

Antibiotics and improved nutrition can help this disorder from getting worse. And then there’s plastic surgery, which is sadly out of the realm of the possible for many of these poor children. (There is a reason they are malnourished.)

Buruli Ulcer is a tropical disease caused by a bacteria in the leprosy and tuberculosis family. It starts innocently with a simple nodule. It affects skin and can get into the bone. Fun!

Warning: All kinds of terrible up ahead!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe good news is that a vaccine is in development.

But you, as the Germ Guru, must know all this already.

I just wanted you to know that I share your fascination.

Thanks again for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Yours in pestilence,
Beth

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