Monday, March 9, 2015


I don't understand how anyone who doesn't grow up speaking English (or even if they did) ever learns the language.  Here are some examples, the first few I've told you before:

In 1971 we borrowed my sister-in-law’s station wagon & loaded my other sister-in-law’s 3 kids & our 3 kids (all aged 5-11) & drove to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Bryce & Zion National Parks. That meant there were 8 of us at every meal.   It always took 2 people to bring us our order.  One night a waitress brought our entire order on one tray.  We applauded!  A couple of days later, Blake, who was 5, was reminiscing.  He asked, “Do you remember when we gave that waitress the clap?”

Soon after my Italian son-in-law arrived in California, he took an ESL (English as a Second Language) course & had gotten a job as a stock boy.  He came over one day & said, “Mom, this guy at work keeps asking me questions around lunchtime & I don’t know what he’s saying.  I looked up the words & couldn’t find them in the dictionary.”  I asked him what the words were.  He told me “jeet” & “wajeet”.  If he hadn’t mentioned that it was around lunchtime, I’m not sure I could’ve helped him.  I told him his coworker was asking, “Did you eat?” & “What did you eat?”

I bought two kitchen chairs from Overstock.com.  They were the “retro” diner style, with bent aluminum legs & red vinyl seats.  They came unassembled.  The following is a review that I sent to Overstock: “The chairs arrived quickly and are very comfortable.  Assembly was relatively easy if you followed the pictures.  The written instructions were as follows (& this is a direct quote): Assembly way to request attention: all screws don’t first lock to tighten, until back cushion to lock tight after that, this chair all screws lock to tighten, then success.”  For some strange reason, my husband had difficulty following the instructions, although I read them to him very slowly & enunciated carefully.

The other example of fine (?) Asian manual writing: A newscaster on TV was trying to report a story, but he was laughing so hard that it was difficult for him to do so.  He finally was able to say, “This is from an instruction manual for a certain unnamed Japanese product.  There is a word in it that needs to be corrected.  We can’t tell you what the word that they actually used is, but we’re pretty sure they meant "screw" part A into part B!”

Do you shop at flea markets because you need more fleas?  When's the last time you bought a garage, estate or tag at a garage, estate or tag sale? 


- Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 

- Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted 

- Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case 

- Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents 

- Farmer Bill Dies in House 

- Iraqi Head Seeks Arms 

- Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus? 

- Stud Tires Out 

- Prostitutes Appeal to Pope 

- Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over 

- Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms 

- Eye Drops off Shelf 

- Teacher Strikes Idle Kids 

- Include your Children When Baking Cookies 

- Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim 

- Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66 

- Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Axe 

- Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told 

- Miners Refuse to Work after Death 

- Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant 

- Stolen Painting Found by Tree 

- Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies 

- Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter 

- Never Withhold Herpes Infection from Loved One 

- War Dims Hope for Peace 

- If Strike isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While 

- Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures 

- Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide 

- Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge 

- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group 

- Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft 

- Kids Make Nutritious Snacks 

- Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy 

- British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply 

 - Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half 

- New Vaccine May Contain Rabies 

- Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing 

- Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing 

- Air Head Fired 

- Steals Clock, Faces Time 

- Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni 

- Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board 

- Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors 

- Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction 

- Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training

- Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
River at http://river-driftingthroughlife.blogspot.com/

How about these sentences?


Take advantage of the fact that the same sentence can have two different structures. This famous joke from Groucho Marx assumes that most people expect the structure of the first part to be
One morning [I shot an elephant] [in my pajamas].
But another possible, and perfectly grammatical, reading is
One morning [I shot] [an elephant in my pajamas].


It plays on reduced relative clauses, different part-of-speech readings of the same word, and center embedding, all in the same sentence. Stare at it until you get the following meaning: "Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community, also happen to intimidate other bison in their community."


And what about abbreviations online?

Blond: "What does IDK stand for?
Brunette: "I don't know."
Blond: "OMG, nobody does!!"

Someone very dear to me gets a "mammyogram" every year & has been to "Thighland".

Some other common mistakes:

Maybe you meant regardless
Irregardless isn’t a word, as fun as it is to say.

It rolls off the tongue so nicely, but it’s also not a word. 
Supposedly is, though!

Are you flustered or are you frustrated
You definitely aren’t flustrated because that’s not a real thing.

This is a back-formation from conversation.
 It’s sort of a thing, but mostly it just leads to arguments. 
Why argue when you can converse peacefully?

Random doesn’t mean weird or goofy. 
It means “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method.” 

It’s sherbet. And it’s good.

So that means you do care a little bit? 
Perhaps you mean you couldn’t care less?

Intents. And. Purposes.

Please enunciate when you make up words. 
Or even annunciate
Certainly don’t announciate.

It’s foliage. FO-LEE-IDGE.

There’s no X in espresso, son.

Nauseous means to cause nausea. 
If you’re sick, you’re nauseated.

C’mon, no Z sound!

Misestimate or underestimate. 
You can’t have both. Don’t be greedy.
Misunderestimate is a charming Bushism that should be left in the past.

It’s a proven fact that everyone has an aunt who says this on a daily basis. 
The correct phrase is simply vice versa.

Nother is nonstandard. 
Just say another or whole other.

It’s meme, like scream. 
As in, say “me-me” very loud and watch your coworkers scream.

You might enjoy these.
Click here. 

Want to take a test about plurals?
Click here.

For Janie:

How did people think before language?----fishducky