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Posts Tagged ‘Definitions’

Dear Corporate Folks:

One of the best things about my job is meeting new people and finding cool opportunities for students. As a result, I’m getting to know my hometown of Atlanta and its residents even better.

There is a big difference in terminology in the higher education world versus the professional world. I go back and forth between the two, so I hear plenty of jargon in both.

I went to a presentation about Atlanta’s workforce last week. Plenty of discussion of past, present and future.

While it was interesting and productive in general, I heard a ridiculous amount of lingo.

Here’s a taste:

  • “We have to incent someone to learn new skills.” Please. No. Can we just provide an incentive? Or encourage someone?
  • “I talked to someone offline.” Good LORD. Can you just talk to someone? Let’s leave “offline” for tech.
  • “We wanted to internship these students.” Internship is a noun, not a verb.
  • “Pre-skilling,” “re-skilling,” “up-skilling” and “out-skilling.” Oh. My. God. Can we just say “training” instead?
  • “Workstream.” I’m OK with “workforce” (barely) but not “workstream.”
  • “Internal ecosystem.” Really? This is unnecessarily complex. Company culture is slightly better.
  • “Thoughtware.” Barf.
  • “Growing social capital muscles.” Can we not?

The visual aids were just as ridiculous.

I’m not a fan of cloudy communication.

In fact, one of my dissertation advisors yelled at me for not “elevating my language” like standard scholarly journal writing. I replied that the “elevated language” is why most people don’t like to read these journals. Especially professionals in the industry of interest.

So.

No need to be clever.

No need to obfuscate. (Hee hee!)

Just be clear.

KTHXBYE,
Beth

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Here are everyday objects turned into prison weapons. Why am I posting this? Because “shiv” is one of my favorite words.

Dear Word Lovers Like Me,

I realized yesterday I hadn’t done a “words I love” post in a while. In fact, it’s been more than nine years. Shocking!

Let’s fix that.

1. Scamper: It’s the word I heard that inspired this post. I also love “scamp” as much as I love its synonym “rascal.”

2. Glisten: I get that this word is almost as polarizing as “moist.” But like “moist,” this word is perfectly descriptive.

3. Slacks: Such a good word. Almost as good as “trousers.” Say it out loud. I bet you smiled.

4. Shiv: This word conveys so much. It doesn’t even need a modifier. You automatically think “prison shank.” Yeah, I like “shank” too.

5. Haunch: It’s guaranteed to get attention, especially when used to describe a human butt and thigh. I know this because I used it just last week in the pool. I asked the instructor if we were supposed to push the weights below our haunches. She raised her eyebrows at my word choice and giggled.

I’d love to know your favorite words. Tell me in the comments.

With appreciation,
Your friendly neighborhood logophile

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Dear Brits:

Yes, I still love you. One of the things I like best, as you know, is your way with words.

While I was all up in your environs recently, I spent some time shopping. Let’s discuss what I found. It’s a little … odd.

“Cloudy” lemonade does not sound appetizing. Can you just stick with the standard noun?

Strong and punchy describes a boxer, not a cheese.

I appreciate that you are trying to get folks excited about the cheese, but I’m not sure I want “citrus hints” in my “zesty and crumbly” cheese.

This just sounds gross.

I get that the place is called “Moose Coffee,” but perhaps it would be best to remove the “moose” modifier for “flavoured & specialty teas” and “natural juice.” I don’t want moose-flavored anything, to be honest.

Now THIS is genius. It’s just a tremendous write-up. Good shout!

Thank you for all the joy you unwittingly provide.

Love and sloppy, wet and squirty American kisses,
Beth

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Dear British Signmakers:

I’ve enjoyed reading your work, but I have questions. Please clear up my confusion.

Zebra? That looks like a man to me. (BTW, it is supposed to be pronounced “zeeebrah,” people.)

Does that mean it is easy to get in? You’re inside like a smooth criminal? Is the opposite a lumpy or awkward entrance?

Why would you send me to use yet another toilet that is out of order? That’s what you mean by a “disabled toilet,” right? (Also, I know your establishment is called “Yo! Sushi,” but I think you needn’t be cute with the sign.)

Is it still a deal if you have to take a taxi back to your lodging? Or if you have to pay someone to hold your hair back? Oh wait … now I see the ampersand.

Who is eating fish in the bathroom? And what’s that other stuff? A can of spray paint? What happens in toilets in Oxford?

Do women in pubs really need all these face and hair potions? Wouldn’t it be good to have put some condoms in there too, as is offered in traditional vending machines? I would assume ‘girls on the go’ might want those. Equal rights and all.

You know I’m just kidding: I know what all these signs mean to convey. Just some light teasing from your odd American friend.

Love you!
Beth

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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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