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.
What is your typical communication style?
Effective communication is a major challenge for most of us. I’m not talking about simple willingness to speak or write, nor merely to be a good listener, both of which are important aspects of effective communication. As for being willing to speak, we all know people who can talk our ears off—usually about themselves—no matter what the original topic was, at the slightest provocation. They seem neither to notice nor care if we’re tracking with them. There’s a word for this clueless babbling: logorrhea (law-ga-REE-a). Informally, I call it the yada-yadas or the blah-blah-blahs. But logorrhea is descriptive and has a certain ick factor because of the –rrhea suffix it shares with another well-known word. I don’t know of anybody yet who’s called in sick to work because they were up all night with a bad case of logorrhea, but it could happen. Continue reading “Short and Sweet”
RE: Robert Lee, Confederates, and Related Nonsense
ESPN announced yesterday (or the day before—it doesn’t matter) that one of their broadcasters, an Asian American by the name of Robert Lee, who was scheduled to cover a football game in Virginia this weekend, was pulled from the assignment because (are you ready for it?) someone might be offended by the similarity of the man’s name to that of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who, as we all know, is offending plenty of folks lately with his frightening statues. What in the world is going on with these pantywaist ESPN execs?
So my question is, where will the insanity end? What’s next in Zanyville, USA? Continue reading “From the Wacky-News Desk”
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”