From Wordplay

An exploration of words and language

20 rules of fine writing

1.  Verbs has to agree with their subjects. 2.  Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. 3.  And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. 4.  It is wrong to ever split an infin- itive. 5.  Avoid clichés like the plague. 6.  Also, always avoid annoying alliteration. 7.  Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies. 8.  No sentence fragments. 9.  Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used. 10. One should NEVER generalize. 11. Comparisons are as bad as clichés. 12. Don’t use no double negatives. 13. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. 14. Analogies in writing are like feathers on…

Top-10 Words about Nonsense

Here’s another great top-10 list. Admittedly, it’s codswallop. However, you will recognize some of the words – and you may just use a few of them. Buffoonery / foolish or playful behavior or practice Codswallop / words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas; drivel Bosh / foolish talk or activity; nonsense – often used interjectionally Tomfoolery / playful or foolish behavior Bunkum / insincere or foolish talk; claptrap Blatherskite / voluble nonsensical or inconsequential talk or writing; blather Flapdoodle / foolish, empty, and often specious talk, writing, ideas, or opinions Balderdash / nonsense; empty talk Monkeyshines…

10 Spoonerisms, Oxymorons, & Palindromes

A series of special lists of words…. Spoonerisms are slips of the tongue by transposing the sounds of words, usually by accident. (The term “spoonerism” is derived from W.A. Spooner (1844 – 1930), an English clergyman noted for such slips.) a lack of pieces – a pack of lies tips of the slung – slips of the tongue pleating and humming – heating and plumbing chilled grease – grilled cheese sparking pace – parking space chewing the doors – doing the chores clappy as a ham – happy as a clam wave the sails – save the whales tease my…

Wordplay

One of our favourite readers, Dick Inwood of Ottawa, has entertained our By George offices for years with his missives on twisted language, punnery and amusing wordplay. Here is an e-mail he sent today… Heteronyms — Enjoy! Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.  You think English is easy??  I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT! Read all the way to the end… The bandage was wound around the wound. The farm was used to produce produce. The dump was so full…

20 “well-turned phrases” to send your colleagues sideways

Every morning is the dawn of a new error. Regarding apathy, I have no opinion. Remember you’re unique, just like everybody else. I’m ambivalent? Well, yes and no. Indecision is the key to flexibility. Procrastinate now! I’m a PBS mind in an MTV world. I plead contemporary insanity. Def’n of a committee: a body that keeps minutes and wastes hours. That’s “Deja Moo”: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before. Def’n of a yawn: an honest opinion openly expressed. Def’n of an egotist: someone who is usually me-deep in conversation. Entrophy isn’t what it used to be. Give me…

Top-10 Modern Phrases Originating from a Shakespeare Play

Here is a top-10 list of Shakespearean phrases most frequently used in our language today, as complied by the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary. . Yes indeed, the Bard lives!   #1: Green-Eyed Monster   #2: In a Pickle   #3: Love is Blind   #4: Salad Days   #5: Wear My Heart on My Sleeve   #6: There’s the Rub   #7: Cruel to Be Kind   #8: Wild Goose Chase   #9: Dogs of War   #10: Strange Bedfellows   To have the sayings sourced and to learn of their common usage today, we encourage you to go to the…

Shakespearean phrases frequently used in today’s discourse (2)

Here’s are 30 more of the Bard’s memorable sayings still in use today.   In the twinkling of an eye It was Greek to me Love is blind Make your hair stand on end Milk of human kindness Much Ado about Nothing Mum’s the word Out of the jaws of death Pound of flesh Rhyme nor reason Screw your courage to the sticking place Short shrift Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em Star crossed lovers Such stuff as dreams are made on The Devil incarnate The game is up The Queen’s English…

Shakespearean phrases frequently used in today’s discourse (1)

There are many, many phrases and quotes that William Shakespeare penned for his plays centuries ago that are still frequently used today. In the first of two postings, here’s a selected list of 30 of the most common of the Bard’s memorable – and timeless – sayings.   A dish fit for the gods A fool’s paradise A foregone conclusion A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse A plague on both your houses A sorry sight All corners of the world All that glitters is not gold All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women…

Origins of some well-known companies’ names

Have you ever wondered where the name Google came from? Do you know the origins of Research In Motion? Well, here’s a list of some well-known company names with their name origins explained. 3M – from the company’s original name, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company A&W Root Beer – named after founders Roy Allen and Frank Wright Adidas – from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler Atari – named from the board game Go. “Atari” is a Japanese word to describe a position where an opponent’s stones are in danger of being captured. It is similar, though not…

Writers on “Words”

Words are the physicians of a mind diseased. – Aeschylus Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill. – Edmund Morrison Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style. – Jonathan Swift The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. – Mark Twain A language is a dialect with its own army and navy. – Max Weinreich Some words are like the old Roman…