Posts Tagged With: words

English, Thou Art Cruel


You may have heard this before. But there is good reason to despise the English language. Especially for non-native speakers! Thing is, I love to write. I really do. So it pains me to admit that sometimes my writer’s block stems from loathing the English language and all of its dysfunctionally absurd “exceptions” to established rules of grammar. Follow me for a moment…

  • WOMB is pronounced “woom” and TOMB is pronounced “toom”, but BOMB is pronounced “bahm”.

Oh, uh… okay. :-/

Image result for wait what

  • A “pair of glasses”, a “pair of scissors” and a “pair of pants” actually refer to one item or article. But a “pair of shoes” refers to two items.  It could be argued that you’d look pretty silly with only one pant leg. But I think you’d also look pretty silly with only one shoe.

Here is a list of words that at first glance you would think rhyme. Think again. All of them are pronounced differently. ALL. OF. THEM.

Tough
Trough
Though
Through
Thought
Thorough

  • Colonel is pronounced “kernuhl”. So Colonoscopy should be pronounced “kernoscopy” right? WRONG.
  • It would also stand to reason that “take out” should not be “brought home”, but yet, it almost always is.
  • If one person doesn’t “show up” for a “showdown”, it ain’t gonna happen.
  • A “flight of stairs” involves no air travel whatsoever.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on Contranyms. That’s a can of worms even the most confident native English speaker would find disconcerting. If you dare, here’s a list.

Yet, I persevere. Because my love for writing outweighs my disdain for the words from which I must choose. 🙂

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Categories: commentary, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random Dove Thought: All By Myself


The English language is completely crazy-fantastic. I mean, I marvel that anyone who isn’t born in the US can manage to speak it with any sense of real comprehension. For instance, I find it interesting that the phrase “All By Myself” is used to refer to someone being alone when, if you were to break it down, (ALL = everything, BY = next to, MYSELF = me) seems to imply the exact opposite. 😛

Next To All The Things

Sure, it’s probably just an idiomatic expression that has become so commonplace as to feel natural and easily understood by those who use it. But I doubt it would translate well to any other language. The next time you meet a non-native English speaker, tell them you want to be all by yourself and see how they respond. Or better yet, tell them you’re going to “give them the cold shoulder” and that they are in “a ton of trouble”.  🙂

And don’t even get me started on calling someone a “Straight A Student”. I could pick that apart for days! 😉

Categories: writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Are You Stupid?


It is no secret that I have an unyielding love for words. I’ve reiterated the fact on many occasions that to me, an extensive vocabulary (and the ability to use words effectively) is akin to foreplay. So today is about two words: IGNORANT and STUPID. Though often used, they are rarely understood.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m getting at. Well, I’ve had a few, lets call them, “altercations” in the past over my use of the word “ignorant” to describe someone. The common misconception is that calling someone ignorant is the same as calling them stupid.  It’s not. If you don’t understand that, you’re ignorant. If you are offended by that statement, you’re stupid. Wanna know why? Let’s take a look…

IGNORANT Ig”no*rant, a. [F., fr. L. ignorans, -antis, p. pr. of ignorare to 
be ignorant. 1. Destitute of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; 
unenlightened. 2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject 
or fact: ignorant of quantum physics. 
STUPID [stoo-pid, styoo‑] adjective, -er, -est, noun –adjective 
1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull. 
2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless. 
3. tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless

So if I call you ignorant (and rightly so in many cases), it’s because you are woefully uninformed and lack knowledge. Such as when people leave ignorant comments on my blog posts after taking a word or phrase out of context. If I say, “Rich people suck!”, I really need you to understand that this is an opinion probably based on a bad experience. And that bad experience was probably provided in full detail after my opening statement. Please don’t leave me a diatribe about the philanthropic tendencies of most affluent residents of Bel Air. 1) I don’t care. 2) You are ignorant. 3) You’ve completely missed the point of the post. Want to really piss me off? Lace your diatribe with thinly veiled insults. That makes you stupid. Yeah, STUPID.

Let’s get something straight. I’m fully capable of talking people under the floor. I can belittle you with my words, be purposely condescending, and give you a couple dozen reasons to dislike me. But I choose not to do that. Because it’s pointless and I don’t gain affirmation by making others look bad. There are plenty of people who will oblige you in that regard. I’m just not one of them.

So I’m just asking you to do one thing: READ.  No, make that two things: Pick up a dictionary sometime. When you use a word incorrectly, guess how it makes you look?

In our next episode of: How To Use A Dictionary, we tackle the difference between Offended and Insulted. Guess what? They’re not the same either! 😉

Categories: humor, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Provocative Words


Words are so powerful.

Just a few choice words can easily affect your heart rate, your appetite, your behavior, your attitude, even your ability to sleep. They are not bound by time, distance or location. And yet, knowing that words are tools potent enough to start and end wars, I marvel at how carelessly we sometimes wield them.

Perhaps the draw is based on a desire to observe how others react to the words you’ve chosen. Some people are motivated by a need to feel important, to have some form of control over their lives. Some are simply master manipulators and words are their weapon of choice.

Whether for good or evil, it’s important to check your intentions, and to be mindful of the affect your words may have, BEFORE you unleash them on an unsuspecting world.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Words


I have a dear friend with whom I often exchange emails.

In our most recent exchange, I mentioned that I sometimes imagine our emails are actually quill and paper letters delivered by some medieval courier. My mind’s voice reads each word in some strange accent that harkens back to an old world.

Crazy? Maybe. Maybe not.

There was a time when even casual correspondence was afforded the kind of detailed attention that all relationships, regardless of their depth, deserved.

Before lolspeak and emoticons, we had carefully chosen words that were full of emotion and personality. Misconception and misunderstanding were the exception.

Hand-written letters were an intimate matter between souls where the words of men and women ended careers, established dynasties, altered the course of history, and even caused them to fall in love.

Now, the power words once held has been dispatched in favor of satisfying our impatient nature. We tweet. We pulse. We text. We snap chat. Instead of expressing myself fully so that you will not only understand my intent but hear the heart behind my words, I am asked to condense the entirety of my thoughts into 140 characters… or less.

I fear we do ourselves a disservice.

I often encourage people to speak at length when commenting on my posts. While I don’t mind the occasional succinct response, my belief is the longer, the better. Words serve to flesh out the skeletal framework of a person’s personality. As you share more, the details of who you are come more into focus. And ultimately it is that complete picture that I most desire to see.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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