Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World | Online College Tips - Online Colleges

The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World

Like anything else involving stringent rules and regulations, grammar harbors a hefty share of obsessive fanboys and fangirls who enjoy debating its ins, outs, and other various quirks. So of course controversies break out in academia, the media, and even intimate conversations between friends. Here are a few of the ones that churn stomachs and angry up the blood, in no particular order.

    Debates regarding whether the Oxford comma should keep on being used are comparable to those about the death penalty and/or abortion. Seriously. Most grammarians have an opinion on the subject, and their opinion is always right and never wrong ever and also they will use and insistent voice when relaying it.

    Go figure. Americans stand divided over whether to pronounce it "con-truh-VUR-see-yul" or "con-truh-VUR-shal." You don't even have to hop a plane across the pond to take part in the battle. Funny enough, Merriam-Webster's and The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledge both pronunciations. So now that a definitive answer exists, it's time to get back to arguing about whether to call it soda, pop, or coke.

    Although grammatically correct, debates regarding the permissibility of double negatives keep flaring up from time to time. Talks apparently originated when linguists pondered acceptance of the often controversial African-American Vernacular English, within which the grammar tweak is quite common. Unsurprisingly, these debates inherently come saddled with some rather unfortunate overtones.

    "Irregardless" appears in at least three different official dictionaries, though all of them admit it's not exactly formal. More traditional grammar aficionados don't think the word deserves to move beyond its slang origins, while others think it's about time the rule-makers acknowledge the evolution.

    Here's one the grammarians out there just can't get enough of. Ending sentences with prepositions isn't actually incorrect, but teacher's gonna teach. The myth circulates so widely, English speakers argue the rule's veracity constantly despite the clear-cut answer.
  6. "HANGED" VS. "HUNG"

    Perhaps not as controversial as some of the other grammar rules presented here, people still mix up — and sometimes argue — over what situations require "hung" and which ones require "hanged." The latter works when describing executions and suicide, while the former works pretty much anywhere else.

    Winston Cigarettes unintentionally ignited a pretty nasty grammatical furor back in 1954 with its use of like as a conjunction. Slogan "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should" was once considered so egregious, many broadcasters (such as Walter Cronkite) refused to even read it on air. Further outrage ensued when dictionaries acknowledged that the company was not committing any grammatical error, even touting it as an example of proper conjunction usage. Suffice it to say, this isn't exactly much of a controversy these days.
  8. "GOOD" VS. "WELL"

    Feel like setting off an unabashed grammar geek? Mix up "good" and "well" when talking health and happiness. Although not a major controversy splitting the linguistic community, confusing the two will undoubtedly set off a minor mental explosion within individuals.

    Traditional grammarians consider Internet and text speak a portent of irreversible vernacular doom. Whether abbreviations, acronyms, the remaining shreds of 1337 5P34|<, or overusing punctuation and emoticons, its seepage into assignments and everyday conversations boils many a language buff's blood. That's evidenced by the fact that slow news days inevitably cover their bubbling rage.

    Strunk & White loyalists pooh-pooh the thought of beginning a sentence with "however" when one really means "nevertheless." Everyone else just thinks them a bit outdated.

    Like their "however" counterpart, "but" and "and" are actually perfectly acceptable ways to start a new sentence. Not every sentence, of course, but some flow even better when launched with a conjunction. Once again, detractors detract simply because of tradition.

    English only involves one gender-neutral pronoun: "it," and many in the genderqueer community find the word either insulting or inaccurate. These individuals oftentimes create their own unique alternatives, though none have obviously entered the mainstream vernacular yet. In order to accommodate their desires, however, a gender-neutral pronoun needs eventual inclusion, which will prove a massive boon to LGBT equality and acceptance.

    Yet another grammar rule students frequently find smashed into their heads that doesn't actually exist. Or, rather, its existence is rather dubious. Split infinitives jam an adverb between an unmarked verb and preposition — and they're perfectly acceptable. Just don't tell the teachers whose notes tell them otherwise, OK?

    Hit up grammar forums across the Internet and witness the numerous hoards defending passive voice. While technically grammatically sound, many writers think stigmatizing its usage compromises experimenting with the language.

    Depending on the English-speaking nation, punctuation marks either go inside quotation marks (America) or outside (pretty much everywhere else). Considering the fact that this debate wages on an international scale, no further explanation is really needed.

    Not every controversial grammar rule out there can brag that it managed to inspire legislation. In 2007, the Arkansas house voted to officially denote possessives as "Arkansas's" as opposed to the more standard "Arkansas.'" Needless to say, this not-at-all-arbitrary act drew its fair share of hissing from grammar purists offended by their apparent affront.
  17. "E-MAIL" VS. "EMAIL"

    So yeah. After years of pressure, the AP Stylebookdeclared that "e-mail" should now be written as "email." And with that came the biggest controversy involving a hyphen since Mariner I. Because nothing in life is more serious than the correct abbreviation of "electronic mail."

    With a name like that, how could this theory whip up anything but arguments? Usually attributed to influential linguist Noam Chomsky, the idea of universal grammar rules involve the cognition behind language structures. Its core concept posits that something in every human brain dictates grammar rules, meaning some elements remain static across even vastly different speakers.

    Aside from the hyphen, most non-professionals (and probably even some professionals) don't know when to use each one. They kind of all look the same when one reads rather than copy edits — a phenomenon which, of course, detractors will constantly note.
  20. "WHO" VS. "WHOM"

    Even more than "good" and "well," misusing "who" and "whom" is guaranteed to set a grammarian's sphincter on fire. "Whom" comes into play as the object of a preposition or the objective case, while "who" is a subjective pronoun. But they don't have to know you know.
rsial Rules in the Grammar World | Online College Tips - Online Colleges

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: The Santa Exclusive by Brent Boswell

Review of The Santa Exclusive, a Christmas novella, by Brent Boswell

Life has gone downhill since veteran journalist Ran Anderson won a Pulitzer prize. Thirty-something, the town’s most eligible bachelor and alcoholic, he’s started to phone in his stories. In addition, he has a grudge about all things Christmas and believes it’s the cause of great fiscal irresponsibility and does nothing at all for global concerns – the tragedies we hear about every day. Then Ran is invited to conduct and up-front and personal interview with Santa himself, and he jumps at the chance. He’s got plenty of “gotcha” questions for Santa, but before he can ask many of them, he gets a glimpse into Santa’s world and Santa turns the tables on him. A feeling of dread overcomes Ran and he wonders if he’s going to see three ghosts . . . but Santa reassures him he’s not part of a Dickens tale. “You needed a healing - - - a miracle, actually,” he tells Ran. And after their conversation Ran concludes the interview with a new mindset about humanity- - and the responsibilities of being human. The Santa Exclusive by Brent Boswell is an engaging tale of humanity and hope that doesn’t get too sentimental in the telling.

You can find The Santa Exclusive at amazon.com

Jingle Bells Hallelujah Chorus - hilarious

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review: Ridiculous: An Autobrainography

Ridiculous: Ricky Tsang

Ricky Tsang’s book is a journey into a brilliant mind: the reader will find humor (dark/bawdy and/or hilarious), love, tenderness, truth and fantasy within its pages.

Diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy at age seven, Ricky has witnessed the gradual wasting of his muscles as a result of this cruel, incurable disease. When he lost of the use of his hands, he turned to writing (with the aid of his computer) to express himself. This book is a result of several years of posts on his popular blog.

I enjoyed his original and creative style, and because of his humor and sense of the ridiculous, the reader does not read about his life with pity but with interest and respect. Though many of his essays are philosophical or humorous, an occasional mention of incompetent nurses (on whom he must depend for every physical need) illustrates the fragility of his daily existence. He finds daily support from his dedicated family, of whom he writes with great love and admiration.

He also writes with great tenderness of love, especially romantic love, and criticizes our cultural obsession with beauty; in a series of essays dedicated to women of every nationality and culture, he expounds upon their particular qualities that he finds beautiful and encourages them to celebrate these features, while expressing his great admiration for them.

This is a touching and intriguing book; no one label can describe this multifaceted look into the genius of Ricky Tsang’s mind. I hope he continues to blog and publish, as his is a most original voice.

I've since had this rewarding correspondence with Ricky. Somedays it just pays to review books once in a while! 

November 23
o         Hi Ms. Jensen,

This is Ricky Tsang. You reviewed my book, Ridiculous, and posted it this morning. I hope you don't mind my messaging you, but I want to thank you for your wonderful critique of my book. It's really encouraging that an award winning writer actually thinks good of my literary style. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you again.

November 23
o        And Happy Thanksgiving! I'm Canadian. I forgot. (:
o        Ricky, wonderful to hear from you! I'm so pleased you liked my review. Keep writing!
16 minutes ago
o        Oh, I LOVE your review. You hit the nail on its head, and my friends and family agree. I particularly love the fact that you understand I'm not looking for pity, but mutual respect for who I am.

Do you mind if I borrow your picture for my website? I'm going to feature your review on the front page soon.

By the way, great news! The Toronto Star, the largest newspaper in all of Canada, is writing an article about my story and book. It should be published right before Christmas. I’m super excited!

And about a month ago, I recorded my music at a professional studio and they’re published online now. However, I also showed the songs we recorded during my Monday interview to the reporter. He was so impressed that he’s going put my music on their website. I’m going national!

If you want to listen to and watch them, here’s the link:http://www.rickytsang.ca/multimedia/music/
Music written and composed by Ricky Tsang.
·       a few seconds ago
o        That's wonderful, Ricky! I'll be excited to hear your music. I'd be tickled to have you feature my review and picture on your website. Let me know when you do so I can link to it. BTW, I was so impressed with what you wrote about your family.

#2 son is interviewed about teacher certification program he's taking . . . .

Silent Halau Monks of New Hope Oahu in "Hallelujah" for Simply Jesus Co...

Friday, December 2, 2011

More jello haikus - and then I'll quit

Somehow, Jello, and especially green Jello, is associated with Utah, which appears to be in the geographical "Jello belt." The green Jello 2002 Olympic pin was the most coveted of them all. I think the media just needed something to talk about during the 2002 Olympics -  Polygamy (they couldn't find any polygamists), green Jello and fry sauce. Not together. Blech.

Here are two more Jello haikus, and I promise I won't post any more until next year. 

Hail to thee, Jello
Biodegradable treat
That's right - Utah's green.

Baby's first Jello
Cool, slippery, surprising
Pampers - the new green

Advice from Twain and a pen name

In response to news that he had died, he sent the following note to Associated Press: "The report of my death was an exaggeration." Trivia buffs: Prior to adopting Mark Twain as his pen name, Clemens wrote under the pen name Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.


"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it."

-- Mark Twain