April 24, 2012

The Teeming Crowd was Teaming Up on Me

Teaming is a verb, and is the act of working together as a team. It is a group of people forming a team in order to work together  to accomplish a specific purpose, such as winning a game, unloading a boat, or pummeling a common opponent with snowballs. It’s almost always followed by the word “up”.

Teeming is an adjective, and is used to indicate that there is a crowd present, as in the teeming crowd, or the teeming station.

Remember which is which by knowing that it takes all the people to make a team. “All” and “Teaming” both have an “a” in them. On the other hand, if the people are just crowded together, use teeming, which crowds together two of the letter “e”.

April 17, 2012

How Many Are There, Anyway?

My English Teacher’s pet peeve is mismatched items. She hates it when a writer uses past and present tense when referring to the same event, or when they mix up plural and singular forms.

Mismatched plural and singular is done so often, most readers don’t even notice it. Did you notice when I used the plural pronoun “they” to refer to the singular “a writer” in the first paragraph? I bet you didn’t. Properly, I should have used “writers” instead of “a writer”.

The pronoun “they” is often used incorrectly with a singular noun simply because the writer doesn’t want to offend the readers by implying gender. “They” is not gender specific; therefore it can refer to anyone who is reading the paper. However, many writers forget that “they” is also plural, and should only be used when referring to a plural noun.

If you have specified that there is only one person in your example, then you must either assign them a gender so that “he” or “she” can be used, or you must write out “he or she” or use the awkward slash “he/she”. This also applies to his/her/them and other variations. Commonly in English, the singular comes with a gender while the plural is not gender specific.

One way I’ve seen writers work around this problem is to use a male pronoun in one paragraph and a female pronoun in the next; however, personally, I find that more difficult to read than if the author simply picked a gender and stuck with it.

April 10, 2012

Anyway, Finish Your Homework Any Way You Want To

An interesting pair of misused words; a big thank-you to dictionary.com, where I get my definitions.

The word “anyway” (one word) is an adverb with two meanings: first, it can mean, in any case; anyhow; nonetheless; or regardless; as in, Whether you like it or not, I'm going anyway. It can also be used to continue or resume the thread of a story or account, as in Anyway, we finally found a plumber who could come right over.

The two-word phrase “any way” means “in any manner”. You might use it to say something like I know you’re a competent carpet layer. Finish the room any way you want to, so long as it looks good.

The letter combination “anyways” is often used in place of “anyway”, especially when used to resume a story, but do not be deceived: it is not a real word, and no matter how much people use it, it will never be correct grammar.

How to tell which one to use: If you can substitute the words “in the” for the word “any”, use the two word phrase. If “in the” doesn’t fit the sentence, use the single word “anyway”. Using the above examples, it doesn’t make sense to say, Whether you like it or not, I'm going in the way. It also doesn’t make sense if you say, In the way, we finally found a plumber who could come right over, so both of these sentences call for the single word. However, it does make sense to say, Finish the room in the way you want to, so long as it looks good, so you know to use the two word phrase. Never use the single word “anyways”.

April 07, 2012

Late Resolution Update

Sorry this post is late. My Dad has been in and out and in the hospital all week, which turns our whole family's lives upside-down.

My resolutions for this year are to:

·Graduate from college.
·Write a new manuscript, something I haven't had time to do since I started college.
·Take a vacation someplace out of Arizona.
·Hug my daughter every day.
·Learn how to make book trailers and post them to YouTube.

How am I doing?

I finished that 8-week class with an A, despite turning in a paper that didn't come to the conclusion which the professor had been carefully leading us toward all semester. I didn't like his conclusion, and didn't feel it was true. I refused to write a lie. Besides, if they don't want us to think for ourselves, why do they work so hard to teach us "critical thinking skills"? As of this writing, I have 34 days until graduation. I have four classes left. Two are must-pass. In one, I am currently earning a B, but I have some extra credit projects up my sleeve that I'm working on which will tip the grade-scale in my favor. In my other three classes I'm currently working on A's.

Writing the manuscript is still on hold until November's NaNoWriMo.

The hotel / park package has been booked for my out of state trip, now we're saving up our gas and food money.

I am hugging my daughter every day. Our relationship is improving greatly. The other day I was really mad at her about something, I don't remember what now, and we managed to deal with the situation with no raised voices.

The book trailers are still on hold for now. This project will very likely happen in August, unless it gets pushed to next year, which is looking likely. I am thinking that two new novels coming out before the end of the year is probably a higher priority than making trailers for existing books.

I'm still doing good on my resolutions, and have kept these longer than any I've made in the past.

I am no longer knitting the sweater. I went to the renaissance faire to get a musical instrument repaired, and received lessons in stick weaving and drop-spindle spinning. I've woven one panel of what will be a rug, and am now working on a belt, because I suddenly find the need for one. I won't be messing with spinning until A.G. In March I read 23 pleasure books, (some of them were short) for a combined total of 4658 pages. This gives me 48 books with 12,488 pages so far this year.


April 03, 2012

Keep Your Greasy Hair Off My Chair!

I'm really not sure how this word ended up on my list of unusual words to look up and share, but here it is, for your learning pleasure. Let your brain expand as you absorb it. All credit for definitions goes to dictionary.com.

An antimacassar is a small covering for the arms and backs of chairs. It’s usually highly ornamental. You’ve probably seen them at Grandma’s house. The crocheted or embroidered things that always fall off and you have to make sure to straighten them before you leave. They once had an important purpose.
A long time ago when washing your hair in the winter in a drafty house would get you pneumonia, people would get greasy hair. Greasy hair is hard to style, and it would smell. To help with the styling and the smell, people would put on scented oils. One popular hair oil came from the Indonesian islands, and was named Macassar. The natural hair oils, plus the added Macassar oils and the oils from dirty hands, would get on the expensive upholstery and ruin it.
Sometime around 1850, people started putting bits of easily laundered cloth or lace on the chairs to protect them from the oils. These were called Anti-Macassars, because they protected against the Macassar oil. Eventually people got better houses and could indulge in better hygiene, but the decorative lace and embroidery were now part of the interior decoration of homes.
The next time you go to Grandma’s and have to straighten the antimacassar when you get up from the couch, you’ll know what it’s called and how the tradition of having them on the chair’s arms and back got started.