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American-English Words That Seem To Be Universal

( education / language / English )
A couple of American-English words/mutterings that now seem universal, no matter which language you're speaking (judging by foreign-language TV shows/movies I've watched) are: Mm-hmm or uh-huh - meaning yes; and, OK Of course, the Italian word ciao has been universal for years. Any oth... read more

When To Use "Who" Instead Of "Whom"

( education / language / grammar / english )
Almost everyone uses the word whom incorrectly. Whom is ONLY correct when following a preposition such as of whom, to whom, from whom, etc. That is the ONLY time you use whom instead of who. And, yes, even your English teacher probably gets it wrong. :)... read more

What Is Title Case?

( education / language / english / grammar )
This might be useful: title-case-capitalization "Title case is one of the conventions used for capitalizing the words in a title, subtitle, heading, or headline: capitalize the first word, the last word, and all major words in between. Also known as up style and headline style." ... read more

Should I Capitalize That Dog Breed Name?

( education / language / english / grammar )
In a word, no. See style.mla.org/capitalizing-names-of-dog-breeds "Do not routinely capitalize the names of dog breeds. Many breed names are composed of proper nouns that you capitalize like Boston and generic terms (like retriever or terrier) that you lowercase.... read more

Mangled English

( culture / humor / language / english )
This is pretty old, from the old newsletter in 1992, when the Soviet Union still existed, but it's still funny How English is Being Used in Different Parts of the World IN A TOKYO HOTEL: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing please not to read notis. IN ... read more

Another Grammar Complaint

( education / language / english / grammar )
I used to be able to spot junk email by its bad grammar, spelling and punctuation. Now, even legitimate emails often fail the test. It makes the grammar Nazi in me very sad. ... read more

This Week's Literacy Rant

( education / language / english / grammar )
OK, people, the word is led (when pronounced led) not lead unless you're referring to the metal. I'm not surprised to see this in social media where it's acceptable (cool, even) to be completely illiterate, but I keep seeing it in news articles written by supposed journalists. A few examples,... read more

Wordnik

( education / language / english )
Wordnik. Cool website for those who like words. I love how they provide samples from articles on the internet. And they provide an explanation/definition to links (if you click it) like the one above. It claims to be the most comprehensive English dictionary in the world. I don't know about that,... read more

Dinkum

( education / language / english )
(DING-kuhm) Dinkum, also dinky-di, fair dinkum, adjective True; honest; genuine. Etymology Probably derived, like many other Australian words, from English dialect. The counties of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire had a word or dincum meaning work; a fair share of work. The word was first recorde ... read more

Parsimonious

( education / language / english )
Our word of the day is parsimonious (par-si-MO-nee-uhs) adjective: Excessively sparing or frugal. Etymology From Middle English parcimony, from Latin parsimonia, from parcere (to spare). First recorded use: 1598. Usage President Calvin Coolidge was so with words that he became known as 'Silent ... read more

Award-Winning English Prose

( culture / humor / language / english )
Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners. 1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a ... read more


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The Lazy Pug Cafe -- The Lazy Pug Cafe was a dilapidated old two-story farmhouse abandoned years ago, lately serving as a sad but charming reminder of days gone by. With its beautiful old weeping willow in front and a massive ancient oak tree, Ol' Lightnin', out back, locals were grateful someone was finally bringing the