Happy Easter Everyone!

I know I’ve been gone for a while, but I’m trying to change from my steady diet of apostrophe-related problems. Today we have a “do”ozy.

Easter has been a long time coming this year, it seems. Whether it’s late in the calendar or the fact that spring has taken a less-than-firm stance, this year Easter is a welcome milestone.

When I went to pick up lunch today, I almost lost my appetite as my local pizza joint chose this way to mark the day:

[Step back, shake head, blink a few times, grab cell phone, snap photo. Sigh.]

It’s due to, kiddies, not do to. And, no matter what Strunk and White says, due to is one of those combinations of words I generally seek to eliminate. There are many better word combos, and once people start using due to they find it hard to stop. Addictions to due to  are alarming. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. It is completely acceptable to substitute because of or even from, if it works. Don’t be shy, give it a try!



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The Experimental Bartender

Dear Bartender,

Coming up with those new drink concoctions must have been fun! You should wait until the hangover subsides before you write the new drink menu. It’s “special”.


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Toma(y)to, Toma(h)to, Tomoato?

A new entry into the combative world of pronunciation:

Now, is it a vegetable or a fruit? I feel certain there is a blog out there that attempts to bring closure to that issue. Oh, let’s call the whole thing off.


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Verbal Turpitude

My family and I went to dinner Saturday night with two other couples. I don’t want to generalize, but I think it’s fair to say, since the women in the couples went to the same local school, that they grew up together.

At one point one of the women asked me what I did for a living, so I told her, and also that I had just been on a business trip for a week.

What happened next was like something out of a bad dream.

Both women responded, with the same tone and inflection in their voices, “Oh, wuzzyuh?”

Unfortunately, what I think they meant was, “Oh, WERE you?” But they have learned, beginning in grade school and progressing over the last 40 years or so, that was is an acceptable substitute for were and so were completely unfazed by my look of utter horror. Verbs were made to be conjugated. Let’s not forget that. But, again, this location is the only place I’ve ever heard women say things like, “Them are cute shoes.” Oy.

It is assaults like these on the English language that leave my ears bleeding and coining terms like verbal turpitude.


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Consistency folks, consistency

Last year, I decided to upgrade my understanding of social media by taking a course at Michigan State University. It was a class assignment that pushed me to start this blog, but it was the abundance of material that led me to continue it. Who knew that the course itself would prove such a great source of fodder.

According to my Webster’s, the words license and licence are interchangeable. I can live with that. What I cannot understand, however, is why you would want to use both spellings on the same web site banner. You can see in the upper left circle logo, they’ve chosen licence, while in the title (which is cut off — great design, by the way) and in the box to the right, they’ve chose to use license. Consistency is all I ask.

This reminds me of a blog post from about a year ago in which I noticed inconsistent street signs. I drive past this street multiple times a week and it still makes me laugh!

OH — and by the way — (that was for you, Lance and Martin),  does anyone out there remember what the course instructor told me when I asked him why there was no apostrophe in “Driver’s”? He said, “You can’t put punctuation in a URL.” In the world of crappy excuses, that one is a winner.


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Past vs. Passed

Past and passed, while they sound the same, are not interchangeable.

Past is usually used as an adjective, and is always used before a noun. (“He was hired based on his past experience.”)

Passed is the past tense of the verb pass. (“I passed the vehicle in the left lane.”) Passed would have been the correct word choice in this context.

Aside from the misuse of the word past, what is this poet/hymn writer trying to say? Is he trying to inspire me with the word IF? IF I live till tomorrow? What makes you think I won’t make it, Bill? That, and the missing comma after tomorrow, leaves me highly uninspired.


Filed under homophones, punctuation, word choice

Plural vs. Possessive

Understanding the difference between plural and possessive is a recurring problem.

First, you can tell this example is from my home state of New Jersey, not Michigan, for once. On our most recent visit, we were looking for a quick lunch, so we drove to the nearest strip mall and looked for a pizza parlor.

As I’ve repeatedly explained to my kids, you can tell a New Jersey strip mall is good if it has at least these three things: a nail salon, a bagel place, and a pizza joint. This one fit the bill! In most pizza parlors in New Jersey, you can get a lot more than pizza. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Reading this sign, you get the feeling the proprietors understand plural. Then you get to Business’. This is singular possessive. The correct word here should be Businesses.

Come on, Jersey. You can do better.

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