Schmenglish III

As many of you know, I think a lot about grammar. Not in a militant way (well, ok maybe a little); rather, I’m just a little picky when it comes to mistakes that are easy to make when speaking and writing English.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to be a grammatical Johnny Appleseed, trekking about the countryside, planting saplings of nutritious…ah, nevermind.

Here are more niggling (I like that word) issues:

Begging the question. Sometimes, people say that something “begs the question” when they really mean it “raises the question.” Begging the question is an example of circular reasoning:

1) Murder is wrong. Abortion is murder. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

2) God exists. The bible says so, so that proves it.

[I’m not stating an opinion on #1, and I do happen to believe that #2 is true. Just sayin’.]

I’ve read many journalists (who should know better) whose work misuses the phrase “begs the question.” Consider this byline in a news story: Obama’s success in the primaries begs the question: Who will be his running mate? I think the writer wanted to say that the running mate issue is a question begging to be answered — but it’s not “begging the question.” Sadly, I believe the phrase has been misused and overused to the point of becoming an accepted part of the lexicon. Silly writers anyway.

Mute versus moot. A person who cannot speak is mute. A point or argument that no longer matters is moot.

The drink produced by forcing very hot water through finely ground coffee is called espresso.

If you want to sterilize your female dog or cat, you hire a veterinarian to spay her. After the surgery, you can say your dog has been spayed. “Spaded” means you’ve shoveled up the garden.

Five feet, two inches describes my height. Rhymes with sight, light, might, right. Heighth ain’t a word.

This –> * <– is an asterisk. Isk. Isk. Isk. Not asterix or asterick.

It’s nuclear. Think of putting the words “new” and “clear” together. I think George Bush either says it wrong on purpose because he thinks it’s funny to make his handlers and speech-writers perspire, or he’s too dumb to know the difference. I hope it’s “A.”

I think that’s enough for today. I feel like spending the rest of my Sunday in a lackadaisical fashion. (Not laxadaisical.)

Grammar Fink

3 thoughts on “Schmenglish III

  1. Mavis

    I have some gripes, too. Diane Sawyer – she uses the word “sense” like she doesn’t have any. Example: “Can you give me a sense?” NO! You’ll have to work for that on your own! *sigh* In this day and age, you would think that people know how to pronounce “Illinois” correctly. It’s not “Elinois”! When you’re not feeling well, do you tell folks that you’re feeling “El” today? ARG! No, you’re ILL. I could go on and on…

  2. Rat Fink Post author

    Preach it, Mave. Gimme a “sense.” :-) And who is this person named Ella Noise????


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