Grammar

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Did the Sun-Times muff on stud?

Posted By on 04.29.14 at 03:36 PM

Jenny Behan
  • Nic Summers/Sun-Times Media
  • Jenny Behan
I've just discovered, to my surprise, that stud isn't a noun whose sexuality is strictly masculine. A broodmare, for instance, is also known as a studmare. And the Urban Dictionary defines stud as "basically, a badass . . . This person can be a male or a female gay or straight. Studs do not discriminate."

So should I fold my tent and disappear? Probably, but I'll speak my piece regardless. Wednesday's Sun-Times sports section carries a profile of Jenny Behan, a slugging junior on the Carmel High softball team. She's someone coach Jason Raymond has had his eye on for years: reporter Bill Harrison tells us, "He had heard through the grapevine that Carmel was in line to nab a stud catcher who was in seventh grade at the time."

Are you cool with that? A junior high girl a stud? Read and discuss.

Visual aid: the Google panoply of stud-dom.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

A new definition for factose intolerant is hard to swallow

Posted By on 10.25.13 at 02:35 PM

Stephen Colbert delivers the keynote last week at a charity gala organized by the Archdiocese of New York. Some of the guests may have been factose intolerant.
  • AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
  • Stephen Colbert delivers the keynote last week at a charity gala organized by the Archdiocese of New York. Some of the guests may have been factose intolerant.
Liesl Schillinger needs to face the factose: factose intolerant is more than she claims it is.

Schillinger's new book, Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century, is a delightful dictionary of newly coined (mostly by her) words and phrases, aka neologisms.

According to Schillinger, factose intolerant means "to shun certain foods out of the belief (based on no medical evidence) that you have acquired a severe allergy to them." Her usage example: "Veronica wanted to throw a dinner party, but couldn't, because so many of her friends were factose intolerant."

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A National Punctuation Day postscript

Posted By on 09.25.13 at 01:13 PM

We are taking some personal time
  • FjStix
  • We are taking some personal time
We were in a semicoma and missed the tenth annual National Punctuation Day yesterday To atone we are giving punctuation marks a holiday in this post which we hope will also underscore their importance

For the punctuation lovers on your gift list you may want to take a look at Shady Characters a 352 page tell all published yesterday on the quote Secret Life of Punctuation unquote According to the New Yorker blog the book will fill you in on the sensuous ampersand and the quote irrepressible unquote hash mark aka the octothorpe

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Tribune hasn't cleaned up its grammatical act yet

Posted By on 07.30.13 at 04:54 PM

One of those papers that make the same mistakes.
A couple of weeks ago I examined a tricky point of grammar that journalists frequently—and the Tribune almost invariably—get wrong. It's one of those who (or that) followed by a singular, instead of a plural, verb. I contacted Valentina Djeljosevic, the Trib's grammar maven, and sent her a learned analysis of the grammatical problem. She said her paper's writers and editors apparently shared a common "blind spot" and she'd share the analysis with her staff.

Change is slow in coming. A couple of new violations jumped out at me from Tuesday's Arts + Entertainment section.

Three more that I cherish: "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), one of the rare socially conscious child-centric films that earns its uplift; Carol Reed's "Oliver" (1968), the best of all Dickens adaptations (excepting David Lean's "Great Expectations"); and Alfonso Cuaron's "A Little Princess" (1994) . . .

and

Plaza is one of the few comic actresses building a career in film and TV who doesn't come from a standup background.

This'll take time.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The only good tip on writing: Don't read tips on writing

Posted By on 07.23.13 at 05:08 PM

Ben Yagoda
  • Jared and Corin
  • Ben Yagoda
"Should We Write What We Know?" is an essay written by English professor Ben Yagoda and posted on the New York Times Opinionator blog. I spotted it being touted on Facebook by my friend Henry Kisor.

"Wisest ideas about writing I've seen in a long time," said Kisor. He's a novelist and former book editor, and he likes Yagoda's answer to the headline's question. The answer is yes, of course, Yagoda observing that a "mediocre writer who knows his stuff to the very depths of his soul" will write a better piece on that stuff than an "accomplished writer" whose grip on the subject is tenuous. (The Reader was launched in 1971 on the premise that inexperienced writers tackling subjects close to their hearts would not only write about them well, but often be willing to write about them for nothing.)

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

One of those small points of grammar that is/are driving me crazy

Posted By on 07.18.13 at 10:31 AM

Jacques Barzun--He thought so too
  • Eric Robert Morse
  • Jacques Barzun: He thought so too
No matter how many times you read it in the Tribune and other fine publications, it's wrong.

It's wrong because it's ungrammatical, and what is lost in grammar isn't gained in brevity or clarity.

I read the following theater capsule in the Tribune of July 12:

The new e.t.c. revue is one of those shows that seems to happen every few years on Wells Street, when the intimacy of the venue comes together with a hot young cast and the e.t.c. stage leaps past the main stage...

The new revue is one of what? One of "those shows that seems to happen . . ."

Plural subject, singular verb.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

After Earth: An epic struggle between good and bad taste

Posted By on 05.31.13 at 04:12 PM

Jaden Smith in After Earth
  • Jaden Smith in After Earth
The most valuable player on After Earth, the big-budget sci-fi feature that opens in general release today, may well be cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. As David Cronenberg's regular cameraman since Dead Ringers, Suschitzky has developed a look of uncanny glossiness in their numerous films together. His lighting never feels unnatural, yet there's always something off about it—it seems almost too controlled, as if the drama were playing out in a museum diorama. Suschitzky's contribution to Cronenberg's work is most pronounced when the settings are the least artificial: the old Chinese exteriors of M. Butterfly, the sanatorium grounds of A Dangerous Method, the woodland settings of eXistenz. The latter film, a rare future-set sci-fi tale without a single metropolitan setting, may represent the height of Cronenberg and Suschitzky's partnership; in it tall trees and country roads seem as alien as any futuristic technology.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

This weekend at the Logan, the alphabet . . . in horror films

Posted By on 03.06.13 at 06:52 AM

F Is for Fart
  • Drafthouse Films
  • "F Is for Fart"
This weekend the Logan presents late shows of The ABCs of Death, a bulging horror/fantasy anthology film (130 minutes with the end credits) to which an international assortment of filmmakers have contributed episodes of three or four minutes, each taking death as its theme and a letter of the alphabet as its inspiration. An opening title warns that no one under 18 will be admitted, and in point of fact the movie is pretty extreme, trading heavily in sadism (in Simon Rumley's "P Is for Pressure" a poor mother is driven to make an animal "crush film"); misogyny (in Jorge Michel Grau's "I Is for Ingrown," a woman chained in a bathtub is injected by her captor and dies horribly); scatology (in Noboru Iguchi's "F Is for Fart," a schoolgirl in love with her teacher bathes in the yellow gas from the woman's backside); and self-mutilation (in Xavier Gens's "X Is for XXL," a fat woman taunted for her looks decides to carve off her own flesh). It's enough to make you wish they'd take some letters out of the alphabet.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Veggie Bite vs. Al's Beef: Maybe meat hasn't quite met its match

Posted By on 01.24.13 at 06:46 AM

Oh, really?
I used to live around the corner from the Wicker Park Veggie Bite—the second location of a vegan minichain that originated in southern California and then expanded to Mount Greenwood—and every time I walked by I'd notice the grammar error in a sign promoting their Italian beef sandwich (with fake meat, of course): "Meat Has Met It's Match." It bugged me enough to take a picture of it, though I didn't know what I'd do with the photo.

Now the restaurant is closed (as is the Mount Greenwood location; I can't find any information on the one in California) and a new outpost of Al's Italian Beef is moving into the space. I'll admit to not knowing the exact definition of irony (though at least I'm in good company), but I think this may be it.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Irony: "the opposite of what you think"

Posted By on 12.13.12 at 06:00 PM

Nothing will be clarified, but please enjoy this instructional video on irony from Explore. As we have recently established, nobody really knows what irony is, though, to lift a phrase from Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, who was actually writing about hard-core pornography, you generally know it when you see it. Anyway, TED Education's Christopher Warner takes a shot. Does he succeed? Who knows? It's a cartoon, and there's cake.

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