On this site you will find blog posts I’ve written and other resources related to writing, language, grammar, words, usage, punctuation, and even pronunciation. Occasionally you’ll find an audio podcast because it provides another way to deliver my message. And (coincidentally) I also do occasional freelance voiceover work.
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Why do I do this? Because I’m an educator and a lover of the English language. My goal is to channel that into a celebration of Standard Written English that helps others communicate more effectively.
Here’s an everyday grammar boo-boo we find every day on social media and wall plaques.
It’s easy to forget that “everyday” (one word) is a compound adjective that means “ordinary,” “typical,” “usual,” or “garden variety,” as in “Let me slip on my everyday shoes.”
“Every day,” (two words) on the other hand, means, well, “every day,” as in, “Her husband visits her at the lake every day,” or, “We walk the dog every day.”
The vast majority of the time, we mean “every day,” but every day I see it written incorrectly; it has become an everyday thing on social media and wall plaques. Δ
© Copyright 2017 by Dean Christensen. All rights reserved.
Do you know how to correctly write college degree titles?
The landing gear is down on another academic year as students and faculty make their final approach toward the graduation runway. Many soon-to-be newly minted grads are now wading into the sometimes turbulent, often murky, and always anxiety-producing waters of job hunting.
So let’s think about how to correctly write academic degree titles on résumés, cover letters, celebration invitations, and LinkedIn profiles. This can be confusing, and in my nearly twenty years in higher education—as a counselor, instructor, administrator, and hiring manager—I’ve seen many resumes and applications where the writer apparently didn’t know how to correctly indicate his or her own degree. Stumbling over something so basic may not go over well with prospective employers. It never hurts to get this right. Continue reading “How to Write Academic Degree Titles”
Bad grammar ruined this popular Christian song (for me).
Standard English took a blow below the belt with the rise of rock ’n’ roll music, and it was only a matter of time before the assault on the mother tongue would be sanctified by Christian artists writing Jesus Music.
I was no grammar snob as a teenager and young adult, and neither was I a grammar slob. But I lived for the rock ’n’ roll music of Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos, and other pioneers of the Christian rock genre. I slapped on my Pioneer stereo headphones, cranked up the volume, and blew out my eardrums on a regular basis to songs like Continue reading “Poetic License? But Why?”
How many of these do you know?
I wrote an article last summer for this blog about “clipped” words—longer words that are commonly shortened—and how to spell them. It’s easy to see how many multi-syllable words came to be abbreviated, because that’s the nature of informal communications. It’s is how we talk, and the spellings of most clipped forms are straightforward. For example, we obviously get phone from telephone, photo from photograph, and bio from biography—all easy to understand and simple to spell. Continue reading “Common Clipped Words and Their Origins”
A personal reflection on the year past and the year to come.
Here we are already—the last day of 2016. So much has happened in the past 366 days (remember, it was a leap year). Some of my personal goals were accomplished, some were not. People known and unknown to me at the beginning of the year touched my life in ways I would not have imagined, and I hope I’ve touched a life or two. And I’ve experienced both joy and sorrow beyond measure. Continue reading “Moving Forward into the New Year”
Do you know where all ten of these Christmas terms came from?
The Christmas season is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many of us. Just think of all the words we use during no other season—which makes them “unusual.” The following ten words are among them. [Please do feel free to share this article and my blogsite.)
1. Advent – Advent is derived from the Latin word for “the coming.” By the end of the sixth century, Pope Gregory I had instituted in the Roman church the practice of conducting a special mass on each of the four Sundays leading up to “the coming” of the Christ-child. Similar to Lent, the season of Advent included fasting and penitence followed by a time of celebration. Eventually, the penitential nature of Advent gave way exclusively to the celebratory nature. Today, Advent is still celebrated in many churches, with each Sunday featuring a different theme, such as the prophecies of Jesus’ birth, the Annunciation to Mary, the visitation of the angels and shepherds, or the gifts of the wise men. Continue reading “Unusual Words Associated with Christmas”