Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"A operative report," "a accident," "a African American", etc.

In this age of texting and shorthand messages, these adulterations of the English language grind on the nerves and ears. Even if one wanted to join the mainstream and be thought of as socially acceptable and "cool," such egregious corruption of language should be avoided, if for no other reason than the desire to sound literate!

"A accident" or "there is a urgency to..." or "on a as-needed basis" or "a American in Paris" hurt the ears! There is no excuse for not knowing better, as the correct form is written everywhere, in every magazine or newspaper or book, and one assumes (perhaps I shouldn't) that the same people that speak this way also do read! If so, then they should naturally know that the article in those cases should be followed with an n, as in "an elliptical incision" or "in an afternoon."

Beside v. Besides

Beside - preposition. It means next to, alongside of. Ex. The book lay beside her on the sofa.

Besides - adverb. It means furthermore, in addition to. Ex. Besides Tom, Jennifer also wanted to be invited to the party.

Other examples:
Besides, I really don't care how much money he makes.
Beside the cottage was an enormous tree.
The boat was moored on the sand beside the carcass of a whale.
His response was an attempt at conciliation. Besides, it was really too late.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mendacity, Mendacious, Mendicant

Ooh, I love words!

Okay, Folks, pay attention:

Mendacity (n) means deceit; hiding a lie within a truth. Ex. "I'm an award-winning public speaker" might suggest far more prestige than the ribbons earned at my club!!

The adjective form of mendacity is mendacious.

Mendicant (adj) means beggar, supplicant - completely different meaning from deceitful.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Proximal v. Proximate v. Approximate

Oh, Boy! What a mess...

Overheard recently: "The proximal tourniquet time was 3 minutes." Really??? Proximal (adj.) means located near to the center, or near the point of attachment. Proximate (adj.) means closest in relationship, immediate, as in "The deer crossing the street was the proximate cause of the accident. When discussing or measuring time, the correct word is approximate (adj.).  In the case of the overheard sentence, the correct adjective should have been approximate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Instillation vs. installation

Both words are nouns in this case.

Instillation (n.) means filling up, implanting, infusing; in another sense, it means inspiring, inculcating. Ex. "The doctor recommended the instillation of eye drops at bedtime."

Installation (n) means putting in place, setting up. Induction, investiture, inauguration. Ex. "The new officers were installed."

When you instill, you put something in, as in medicine. When you install, you set up or build or inaugurate.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Poor Ears! They're Getting a Workout Today!

Overheard by a professional, American born: "...it was examined in a systemic fashion ..." Wouldn't you prefer systematic???

Pain, My Poor Ears!

Overheard, from a "professional," American born: "Him and his wife told me ..."

Basic! What the heck did you do in elementary school? Him and his wife??? Oh, be still my ears!