A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication, because Ben Franklin and Kurt Cobain both influenced our modern English language and spelling memes deserve to be debunked. Words. Language. Human communication. Everything begins there.
I’m ready for your moments of temporary hesitation or bewilderment. The English language can be difficult, but who says talking about it can’t be educational and entertaining?
People surround us. Words surround us. The words we use for people surround us. And things can get tricky. We might fall into traps of not knowing better with some words, like “gypsy,” which is often considered a racial slur to people of the Roma population—along with the word “gyped,” as in “I was gyped,” […]
S3: E4 – The Origin of “Silhouette” & How Do You Spell “Piecemeal” (“Peacemeal”? “Piecemail”?) Anyway?
A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication, because Ben Franklin and Kurt Cobain both influenced our modern English language and spelling memes deserve to be debunked. Words. Language. Human communication. Everything begins there. Norrie Epstein once said, “The best writing advice I ever received: facts are eloquent.” Oh how […]
A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication. Let’s talk language tips for the curious or confused. Welcome to episode three of season three. The Irish author Samuel Beckett once wrote, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” I love this idea, in talking about […]
S3: E2 – “Bragging rights” (or “rites”)? “Rites (or “rights”) of passage”? And what’s the story about “braggadocio”?
No matter how you’re using your words, in emails or essays, poetry or presentations, you’ve got to start somewhere. Maxwell Perkins, the book editor best known for the writers he discovered including Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, once said, “Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do […]
S3: E1 – The History of “Mesmerize” & Looking for the “Mother Lode” (or “Mother Load”?) of English Language Tips
A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication. Let’s talk language tips for the curious or confused. Welcome to season 3. In our first two seasons, we talked about the language choices of Kurt Cobain, Judas Priest, and Destiny’s Child. We’ve talked about spelling hijacking and spelling revolutions of early […]
So you’re telling me you think grammar is gross. You’re allergic to the idea of sentence diagramming. Actually paying attention to the English Language sounds kind of icky. Okay, sure, that’s not my opinion, but you knew that. And if it’s yours, that’s okay. I get it. But you know what is icky to me? […]
I don’t know if birth order has anything to do with grammar persnicketiness. Do eldest children have a tendency of dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s? Are youngest children inclined toward utter grammar rebellion? Was that first known person to drop an “OMG” in 1917—yep, I said that date correctly, 1917—was he a youngest […]
Today, let’s fight fire with grammatical fire. Or, let’s at least get your spelling right when you’re talking about fire. Think fast: if you have a “flaring” temper, how is that spelled? Is it the same as having a “flair” for fashion? And what is the past tense of the verb, “to light”? Lit? Lighted? […]
Getting my fingers covered in dirt is as satisfying as having them covered in ink. Weeding is a bit like editing, after all, cleaning up what’s there to turn it into its best. And then there’s the wonderful language of the garden. “Zucchini” comes from the Italian word for “sweetest.” The head of an asparagus […]
“Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” So says Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, and you know, it’s a true statement. It’s tax season, so let’s dive in. Into the numbers? Nope, not here. Let’s dive into the language of money. When should “money” be written […]
Why do I call this the “Words You Should Know” podcast? It’s not a lecture. The whole idea of grammar police annoys me. This is the podcast that reminds you that Ben Franklin and Kurt Cobain both influenced our modern English language, and spelling memes deserve to be debunked. See past episodes for those details. […]
If you’re listening along as I publish each episode, you might know it’s flu season in the U.S. I’m not going to go into how to spell “flu,” as in influenza, versus a chimney “flue” or the past tense of “fly,” but I do want to talk about how an apple a day can keep […]
It’s time to get a grip on your communications, isn’t it? The English language can be difficult, I know. But there’s a certain pet peeve of mine we’re going to dive into today. It’s all about the word “butt.” And it’s not about starting a sentence with it. I’m talking about butts—B-U-T-T-S—that shouldn’t be there. […]
This podcast is on one of my favorite explorations. It’s all about words you wish existed. Sometimes the world seems annoyed that there just isn’t a word to express exactly what you want. There’s no English word for that intimate feeling of sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends (though it exists […]
S2: E1- When Grammar Goes Big: Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani & Broadway (Bringing in the New Year by Ringing in the New Year)
This is the start of season 2. How to start with that bang? Let’s talk Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani, and a classic Broadway show—and, of course, the words they use. You might not have known it, but they have a major disagreement on the usage of a phrase. Specifically, should it be “if I were” or […]
At twelve months old, babies are already beginning to recognize “adjacent relationships” of words, how language fits together to organize itself. The learning process with listening, speaking, and writing, begins there and often lasts for a lifetime. There’s no medal awarded for correctness, but a strong command of your words is one way to show […]
Now that we’ve established whether it’s “prouder” or “more proud” than a peacock in last week’s episode, I want to keep talking about birds. Why? Because calling a North American turkey a “turkey” is up there with the earliest of #fakenews. But, accuracy has never been the English language’s strong suit. It’s the week of […]
Is it possible to be more proud than a peacock? Or, wait, is it “prouder” than a peacock? One is the correct form, but do you know the answer? Let’s talk language tips for the curious or confused. This is Season 1, Episode 10. How we have only two episodes left in this first season, […]
Language tips for the curious or confused. Because we really can fit into either category, depending on the day, the moment, the answer that slipped from your mind. This is episode 9 of season 1, and I’ll admit it, this podcast started out as an experiment. Who in the world is as fascinated as I […]
We all need these little word choice reminders, don’t we? We need to remember the difference between “insure” and “ensure,” without a doubt understanding that “insure” with an “i” is talking about insurance. We need to know that when you might say “I could care less,” that means that you do indeed care about something. […]
Before I dive into the trickery of English language spacing, let me tell you a story about selling books at midnight at the launch of J.K. Rowling’s 5th book in the Harry Potter series, The Order of the Phoenix. I was in college at the time, working at a bookstore, and the build-up had been […]
I want to talk about monsters. A scary story can be fun any time of year, but especially near Halloween. It’s good to know that a collection of ravens is an “unkindness” and a collection of crows is a “murder.” It’s good to know that there are these things called “ghost words,” which are typos in […]
Just in the (k)nick of time, let’s talk about how you spell that “(k)nick” in the “(k)nick of time.” Is it spelled N-I-C-K or is it K-N-I-C-K? What’s your first reaction? Let’s see if you’re right. This is episode 5, and I’m having fun with this series of language tips for the curious or confused. […]
This is episode 4, and I’ve got another question for you: Is the expression “you’ve got another think coming” or “you’ve got another thing coming”? Former President Barack Obama and Judas Priest are tied up in the answer, but before I get to it, I wanted to give a special shout out to my new […]
This is episode 3 of the Words You Should Know podcast, and it’s time to take a step back. So what am I doing here? Here’s a hint: it’s more than teaching you that you want your football team to have a “disinterested” ref rather than an “uninterested” ref. And this podcast is more than […]
The Words You Should Know podcast. A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication. This is episode 2, and I’m already loving the feedback I’m getting from you. I appreciate how many of you have already subscribed to my podcast or reached out with questions for future episodes. Without further […]
Here it is, folks. Season one, episode number one of the Words You Should Know Podcast. First came the blog, then came the indie book, then came the traditional publishing deal (shout-out to Get a Grip on Your Grammar, Career Press, 2017). Now, it’s time for my next project. Words. Language. Communication. Let’s do this […]