Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 7, 2008 / 2 Nissan 5768

How to speak English very much better

By Dave Barry


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's time for another installation of "Ask Mister Language Person," the penultimate authority on grammatorical issues; the column that puts the "p-u" in punctuation; the only language column that was endorsed by both Jane Austen and William Shakespeare just before they died together in a romantic car crash.


Today we regret that we must begin our column with this:


TERRORIST THREAT WARNING


We have received alarming information from very high sources in the federal government.


Q. How high were they?


A. They were wearing their underpants on their heads.


According to these sources, terrorists may be planning an attack on America's linguistic infrastructure. The targets will be critical strategic phrases without which this nation cannot function, including: "Like"; "You know"; "Like you know"; "Like you know what I mean?"; "Like you know what I'm saying?"; "Have a nice day" and "Your call is very important to us." Keep a sharp ear out, and if you hear anybody using any of these phrases in a suspicious manner, you should immediately notify the attorney general. Speak directly into the fly of his briefs.


We turn now to answering common language questions, starting with one sent in by an anonymous resident of Washington, who writes:


Q. I am the chief justice of the United States, and I'm hoping you can settle an argument. I say the correct wording is: "My mother says to choose the very best one and you are it!" Whereas my colleagues insist that it should be: "My mother says to choose the very best one and y, o, u, spells YOU!" Please answer promptly, as this involves the death penalty.


A. We put your question to the American Bar Association, which sent us a 127-page response.


Q. What does it say?


A. We have no idea.


Q. What is the correct usage of the phrase "being as how"?


A. It is correctly used as follows: "Steer clear of the gumbo, being as how Bernice can't find her hair net."


Q. As far as grammar, what is the difference between "bring" and "take"?


A. "Bring" is a prehensile imprecation that must be used in the vindictive tense.


EXAMPLE: "Earl should of never brung Silly String to the viewing."


Whereas "take" is used in fraternal exhortations.


EXAMPLE: "Take a gander at THEM headlamps!"


Q. As a fourth-year medical student, I am wondering if there is any way to remember the difference between "prostrate" and "prostate."


A. We contacted the Mayo Clinic, which informs us that surgeons there use this simple poem:


If two R's are found, it is down on the ground


If one R is on hand, then it is a gland.


Q. What about "transpire" vs. "perspire"?


A. That one still has them stumped.


Q. Do you have any true examples of strong grammar usage that you are not making up, sent in by alert readers?


A. You are darned tooting:

  • Pat Anthony sent in a letter to the editor published in the El Dorado News-Times in Arkansas, which begins as follows: "I would like to apologize for my stupid acts and irresponsible behavior. I know I shouldn't have rode my horse into town drunk, much less in Wal-Mart."

  • Terry Zeri sent in a sign from the wall of a rest room in Fremont Lake, Wyo., which states: "THIS REST ROOM IS CLEANED BY VOLUNTEERS. PLEASE HELP US KEEP THEM CLEAN."

  • Anne Morter sent in a police-blotter item from the Lake County Examiner in Oregon, concerning a woman arrested for allegedly abusing geese. The item states that the woman "was released under the conditions that she is to have no contact in person, by telephone or through a third party with geese."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

When it comes to laundry, men are all washed up
This houseguest is ready to throw in the towel
Fixing your home can truly be a bonding experience
The lies about this mammal just drive me batty
In spin cycle of love, hard to be delicate
It's just not the time to thumb our nose at bagels
Latest fitness Rx for men is a yawn
My daughter's party, I'll cry if I want to
Sanguine ride on rabid transportation
One experiment worth repeating
Nothing like a good trip to help me see the light
The lord of the dance doesn't have anything on me
Invention clearly worth the brewhaha
Safe on the slopes
Why-oh-why-oh-why-oh…
A gross national columnist
Mr. Language Person: Weird word
I (cough) was a teenage smoker!
Frogs hop into the headlines
Great American turkeys
Mr. Fixit strikes again
‘Einstein Gap’: It's all relative
Lost in space
The Trojan Twinkie Caper
MR. LANGUAGE PERSON: WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!
Feeding your worst fears
Sock it to 'em, sartorially
The rubber band man
Does public art make sense?
Needling the birthday boy
On calamities (in the sky and on your head)
Modern medical mysteries
Bored games
Dave's Field of Nightmares
Lewis and Clark stepped here!
The ultimate water gun
Poetic license, with no rhyme or reason
Great moments in science
This won't hurt a bit
One giant leap for frogkind
My visit to Nether-Netherland
Smile and say cheese
Shooting carps in Wisconsin
The perfect storm
Stickup in aisle 3
Please don't feed the tourists
Land of the Frozen Earwax
The birth of wail
Honk if you're married and can't cope with anger
Rabbit ears get poor reception
Percentage of frogs in food jumps
Night of the living roach
Mr. Language Person: Some words of wisdomality
Mind your P's and Q's and teas
Loose lips sink sequels
NOW WE'RE COOKIN'!
The right to Bear clubs
Science: It's just not fair
Road warrior specials
Where's the beef? (Low fat)
There is nothing like a male (guys)
MOTIVATE! THEN FAIL! NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
Rooting for the midgets of the Midway
Revolt of the rodents
He can drive any truck named ‘Tonka’
All bets are off
How do you spell S-A-T?
Sour grapes and mud
Pro golf: A game of non-stop boredom
Guard-dog vigilance is nothing to sniff at
Warm and fuzzy Cold War memories
The funny side of ‘Beowulf’
HOLY HEAT WAVE, BATMAN!
Abs-olute madness
Beware of brainy bugs
I'm in a sorry state
The frog plague: The inside story
If she had a hammer….
Keeping an eye on crime
Camping and Lewis and Clark
When in Iowa, don't forget to duck
Junior takes the wheel
Growing old with Dave
Sites for sore eyes
Beware of sheep droppings
Ireland, land of bad Elvis
Mr. Peabrain's misadventures
When they're out to get you, keep cool
Mothers of invention
Kill 'em with kindness



© 2006, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles