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A Strange Little Word with So Many Issues

Chowing down while the dogs fight over a bone of contention. I’ve spent of good deal of my life dealing with words. We all use them. At least all of us who speak or write, but even illiterate people, who may not know how to spell them, use them, and people who are unable to speak or hear must think them. I think about words and how they came to mean what they do. You use them [...]

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By |2022-06-14T01:16:00+00:00June 14, 2022|Language, Synonyms, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

Playing around with the Three “Homos”

Making it to the end of this essay is enough to wipe the smile off any face. I think I missed a week of blogging. I recently found a publisher for my book, and I’ve been going back and forth with a consultant, establishing a portal so we can start the editing process. That means carefully proofing two dozen chapters containing some 93,000 words and rounding up photos to illustrate the true crime manuscript. That’s my excuse [...]

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By |2022-01-26T04:14:50+00:00January 26, 2022|Homonyms, Homophones, Humor, Language, Vocabulary, Words|

Communication Thrives on the Words We Use

The origins of the words we use are often primitive, but we shouldn’t abandon them too quickly. Every once in a while, I run into a language purist who likes to take issue with stuff I have written as being wrong-headed or just plain wrong. These are people who think you shouldn’t use words like “stuff,” as I just did, because it is lazy. Find the definitive word, they’ll lecture, because stuff means unspecified things. Still, there [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:32+00:00December 3, 2021|Language, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

Trying to Stay Relevant with an Aging Mind

Words and phrases that show your age. Uncool or rich in history and meaning? Now I’m too old to worry about whether I’m cool or not. Or is that too cool to worry about how old I am? I do know that it is still cool to use cool to mean something is, well, cool. It is one of the long-standing tidbits of slang that has lasted through multiple generations. Then again, that may not be true [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:40+00:00September 15, 2021|English, Humor, Language, Phrases, Sayings, Words, Writing|

Nothing You Needed to Know about Minds and Brains

Don’t mind me if I pick my brain. The potential of the human mind is limitless. That’s a no-brainer. Well, without a brain, you couldn’t have a… Never mind. Anyway, I’m not talking about people who don’t have brains. Their potential for having a mind is severely limited. It has been demonstrated after years of pseudo-psychometric research and exhaustive testing of people (who don’t seem to mind) that if you still don’t have a mind once you [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:47+00:00July 22, 2021|Brain, Human Mind, Humor, Memory|

Remembering Words We Seldom Use Anymore

Words come and go as the years go by. One of the great things about being young— as in late adolescence and well into the vague parameters of young adulthood— is you get to make up your own language and toss words and expressions your parents and grandparents are fond of onto the scrapheap. Words like scrapheap, for instance. I explored that subject a few years back in a newspaper column entitled: “Outliving a Big Chunk of [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:49+00:00June 17, 2021|Pop Culture, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

Making Our Points with Exclamations!

Exclamations should be used sparingly for impact. Get the point? I’m not big on exclamation points. I have to be exceedingly excited, angry or enthused to use them in my writing. You use such things sparingly for effect. And yet, as someone who edited many articles, commentaries and letters to the editor over the years, I’ve seen exclamations used so liberally it’s like the written form of shouting. You have undoubtedly seen correspondence, email and social media [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:52+00:00April 7, 2021|Exclamations, Language, Punctuation, Sayings, Words|

A Man of Letters Fools Around with Acronyms

Digging up a growing glossary of acronyms. We are flooded with a sea of acronyms, which are essentially language shortcuts. They may be organizations or expressions that we know pretty well and are usually comprised of the first letters of most of the key words used, often excluding the definite (“the”) and indefinite (“a” and “an”) articles that tie them together. That’s why most of us say or write NASA and not National Aeronautics and Space Administration. [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:55+00:00February 24, 2021|Acronyms, Names, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

For Those with a Longing for Length

Looking at some legendarily long words that will give you writer’s cramp. I have to confess that the unrelenting, verging on overwhelming, abuses of political power have left me in a temporary state of dumbfoundedness. Now that’s a long word, unrecognized by my spell-checker and even in some dictionaries. But it is legitimate and means being dumbfounded or amazed to the point of being unresponsive, flabbergasted or gobsmacked. My spell-checker doesn’t recognize the last one either, but [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:57+00:00September 23, 2020|Extremes, Language, Longest Words, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

It’s Getting Tougher to Say what We Mean

Is that your head or someone’s misshapen big toe? Just one letter can change meaning. The political landscape is getting crazier and crazier, but is it crazy in a good or a bad way? Are facts important to you— such as the things people actually do and say— or do we really have the option of alternate facts? How about the alternative of optional facts? My recent blog about the overwhelming evangelical support for President Trump was [...]

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