Posted by: episystechpubs | December 15, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Tenth Day of English (2017)

On the tenth day of English,

My true love did me wrong,

He forgot the pipers and sent me

Ten new ways to say “song.”

1. barcarole: a work song with a beat that alternates between strong and weak to suggest the rhythm of rowing a boat

2. canticle: a song based on scripture and performed during a church service

3. chantey/chanty/shanty: a rhythmic sailors’ work song

4. descant: a melody sung as a counterpoint to another melody

5. madrigal: a polyphonic part-song originating in the 14th century that has parts for three or more voices and is marked by the use of a secular text and a freely imitative style and counterpoint and that in its later development especially in the 16th and 17th centuries is often marked by a distinct melody in the upper voice and by being designed for accompaniment by strings that either double or replace one or more of the voice parts — compare motet [KC
– This definition is from Merriam-Webster.]

6. motet: a choral composition, usually unaccompanied, based on a sacred text

7. paean: a hymn or song of praise, thanks, or triumph

8. round: a song in which multiple singers sing the same melody and lyrics

9. roundelay: a simple song that includes a refrain

10. work song: a song structured to aid in the performance of a rhythmic group task

For an even longer list of different ways to say song, see Daily Writing Tips.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 14, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Ninth Day of English (2017)

On the ninth day of English

My true love game to me

A bunch of words from the

Nineteenth century.

Today we’re taking a trip back to the 1800s, when people like Lewis Carrol, Charles Dickens, and other great writers were making up new words or redefining existing words to meet their creative needs. Today’s list is just a few of those words, but the full list of 25 in at DailyWritingTips.

This post lists a number of words that were introduced to the lexicon by novelists and other writers during the nineteenth century.

1. actualize: Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge came up with this verb form of actual to refer to realizing a goal; self-actualization came much later.

2. chintzy: Writer George Eliot crafted the adjective meaning “cheap,” “stingy,” or “unfashionable” from chintz, the word for a Calico print originating in India.

3. chortle: Lewis Carroll came up with this mashup of chuckle and snort.

4. doormat: Novelist Charles Dickens was the first person to use the word doormat (hyphenated) to allude to someone figuratively being walked all over.

5. flummox: Dickens coined this nonsense word alluding to being bewildered or perplexed.

6. intensify: Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined this term with the justification that “render intense” did not fit the meter of a poem he was writing.

7. narcissist: Coleridge, inspired by the Greek myth of the self-absorbed youth Narcissus, came up with this term to describe a person similarly afflicted with self-admiration, though the psychological condition of narcissism refers also to a lack of empathy and, paradoxical to the primary quality of a narcissist, low self-esteem.

8. psychosomatic: Coleridge came up with this term to refer to imagined maladies.

9. soulmate: Coleridge came up with this term (hyphenated) to refer to someone with whom one has a profound emotional connection.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 13, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Eighth Day of English (2017)

On the eighth day of English

My true love gave to me,

Eight idioms that mean

Extremely hap-py!

An idiom is a turn of phrase that has “a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light)” (from the Google dictionary). Today’s collection of idioms from My English Teacher, all mean happy.

1. Having a whale of a time
have a very good time, have an exciting or fun time

2. On cloud nine
very happy, cheerful

3. Tickled pink
very much pleased or entertained

4. On top of the world
feeling wonderful, glorious, ecstatic

5. Happy as a clam
very happy and comfortable

6. Buzzing
excited for something that’s going to happen

7. Over the moon
extremely pleased and happy

8. In seventh heaven
in a very happy state

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 12, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Seventh Day of English (2017)

On the seventh day of English

My true love sent to me

Seven bits of grammar

That you might find tricky.

Yes, I know most of you have seen these before, but they still stay at the top of the most often made errors in grammar. Many of you have sent in samples of signs you’ve seen with these errors, some of you complain that you receive emails with these mistakes, and I know that sometimes I even type the wrong word when I’m writing too fast. These are the top seven grammar errors, definitions of what they are, and examples of them being used correctly.

1) There/Their/They’re

· “There” means “in or at a place/point.”

Please put the suitcase there on the bed.

· “Their” is possessive.

John and Kat love all of the same things. Their favorite movie is Superman.

· “They’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Bob and Dan said they’d be coming to the party. Do you know when they’re supposed to arrive?

2) Its/It’s

· “Its” is possessive.

A good dog knows its place is at the bottom of the bed, not on the pillows.

· “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”

It’s a fact: today is the festival of the Balloon Man.

3) Your/You’re

· “Your” is possessive.

Please take your shoes off and leave them by the door.

· “You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Sandro saw his daughter’s Halloween costume and said, “You’re the most adorable little munchkin I’ve ever seen.”

4) Two/To/Too

· “Two” is a number.

He’s got a ticket to ride, but she’s got two tickets to paradise.

· “To” denotes an action.

I think I will wait until it is warmer to go swimming.

· “Too” means “also.”

Are you bringing a dessert to the holiday party, too?

5) Apostrophes

· The boy’s dog. The girl’s guitar. Sarah’s pencil. The Three Girls’ Bakery. (possessive)

That over there is Cecil’s “new” ’67 Chevy.

· The boys are going out. Girls just want to have fun. (plural)

We have three peach trees growing in our back yard.

6) Who’s/Whose

· “Who’s” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.”

Who’s going to the fire circle tonight?

· “Whose” is possessive.

Does anybody know whose winged shoes these are in the doorway?

7) Could have/Would have/Should have

“Seeing ‘could of’ written down is one of the more shiver-inducing grammar mistakes around. Why is this happening? What does it mean?

What they’re trying to say is ‘could’ve’ which is a contraction of ‘could have.’ This is never interchangeable with ‘could of’ which doesn’t mean anything, ever.” [KC – My apologies, I
don’t remember which website I got this quote from.]

Why did you bring two games when you could’ve brought four?

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 11, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Sixth Day of English (2017)

On the sixth day of English

My true love sang to me

Some funny tunes that turned

To mondegreens.

It’s been some time since we’ve talked about mondegreens, also known as misheard song lyrics. Today I visited a website named after a mondegreen for some Jimi Hendrix lyrics. The words in the actual song are “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky.” The mondegreen is “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.”

Here are six mondegreens from Kiss This Guy:

Song Title Artist/Group Actual Lyrics Mondegreen
You Can’t Quit Me Baby Queens of the Stone Age You’re solid gold

I’ll see you in hell

You smell like goat
I’ll see you in hell
Jeremy Pearl Jam At home, drawing pictures

Of mountaintops

With him on top

At home, drawing pictures

Of mounds of tots

With ham on top

I’m Every Woman Chaka Khan I’m every woman I’m Terry Wogan
Dancing Queen Abba See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen
Take My Breath Away Berlin Haunted by the notion somewhere there’s a love in flames In all that body lotion, somewhere there’s a loving flame
Like a Virgin Madonna Like a virgin

Touched for the very first time

Like a virgin

Touched for the thirty-first time

And for those of you who prefer rap:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 8, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Fifth Day of English (2017)

On the fifth day of English

You sent me different peeves.

Five good examples of what

Drives you cra-a-zy.

A few weeks ago, I got up on my soapbox and preached about not using the word “utilize” when “use” would work just fine. Several of you wrote back to mention some of your peeves, and I have to agree with you. In fact, I’d just run into some new jargon that was making me choke on my oatmeal, and one of you wrote to me about it. So let’s get into it! What’s on your peeve list? Below are some quotes and comments from your coworkers, along with my responses. Peeve away!

consume
“Instead of saying, ‘programs can use this service’ for some reason the buzz phrase is ‘programs can consume this service.’ Drives me nuts.”

[KC] This is the word that make me choke! I saw it in an article online and thought it was a typo! Consume this service? Are you using it to do something or are you eating it? Smoking it? I don’t know, but I don’t like this use of the word. If someone thinks it is a typo, you probably should use vocabulary that is more straightforward.

preplan

“How silly is that? Can’t you just say ‘plan’?”

[KC] Exactly, mon ami! Why do we need to plan before making a plan? Go with Nike® and Just Do It!™

at this time

“I catch myself rolling my eyes every time I hear that one.”

[KC] This is one of those page-filling phrases that could be much shorter and more specific. Are you trying to meet a 500-word minimum for an article, or are you letting people know something? Does at this time mean now? Today? 10:00 a.m.? Cut this phrase out of your life. It’s non-specific and wishy-washy, and several of your co-workers may be rolling their eyes.

moot vs. mute

[KC] Mute means unable to speak, or to muffle or quiet sound, such as muting your phone so people can’t hear your dogs barking. Moot means subject to debate or dispute; arguable, unsettled, unresolved. The phrase is “moot point.”

absolutely

“May we have an e-mail about absolutely, and why we shouldn’t use it so often?”

[KC] “Yes” is a fine response when someone asks a question. Here is an entire

CNN article on the overuse of the word absolutely in its many forms.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 7, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Fourth Day of English (2017)

On the fourth day of English

My love gave me something good:

Four words that might not mean

What you think they should.

From Your Dictionary:

Bemused

If you think this word means the same thing as a word it rhymes with, you’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, most people choose the wrong rhyme. "Bemused" doesn’t mean "amused," though it’s often used that way by mistake. It actually means "confused." If you have a bemused expression on your face right now, it’s because this new information is blowing your mind—not because you think it’s hilarious.

Electrocute

Ever accidentally stick your finger in an electrical outlet and get electrocuted? If that were true, you’d be dead and buried. "Electrocute" means to kill someone with an electric shock (think "execute" to help you remember). If you get a nasty shock from a malfunctioning appliance, you may be a little shocked, but you haven’t been electrocuted.

Factoid

"Factoid" is a relatively new word in English. It was coined by author Norman Mailer in 1973, and he meant it to refer to tidbits of information that everyone thinks are true, but actually aren’t. According to this original use, "factoids" aren’t facts at all, but rather fake news that people believe just because they’ve seen it written somewhere—tabloids in the ’70s, Twitter today. The irony is that today people use factoid to mean a fun trivia fact—pretty much the opposite of what Mailer intended.

Lied

If you think "lied" has two meanings, you’re in for a surprise. This is the past tense of only one word, not two, so you could be using it correctly only half the time. If you lied to your mother yesterday, you’re not a good person, but you used the word correctly. "Lied" means to have told an untruth in the past. It is not the past tense of "to lie down"—that would be "lay." Lots of people get these conjugations confused, but you should say "I lay down after work yesterday because I was so tired."

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
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is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 6, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Third Day of English (2017)

On the third day of English

Richard Lederer gave to me

Tricky grammar tidbits

Times the number three.

Oh yeah, we’re only on day three, people! My rhyming skills don’t get any better with time!

Here are some questions that come up often in grammar world. These are from Richard Lederer’s fans, and answered by the King Verbivore himself.

DEAR RICHARD LEDERER: Please explain the difference between the words historic and historical. –Dennis Cormier, Point Loma

Historic refers to events, places and artifacts of great significance, as in “President Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court was an event of historic importance.”

Historical refers to history, as a subject, as in “the San Diego Historical Society” or to a particular period of history, as in “Artifacts from the Revolutionary War are of historical significance.”

Use the article a before both historic and historical. An before these adjectives sounds stuffy and a tad weird. You wouldn’t say, “An history book,” would you?

DEAR RICHARD LEDERER: In a recent Union-Tribune Health section appeared this sentence: “CDC says one in three Americans aren’t getting enough sleep.” Should it not be “one in three Americans is not getting enough sleep?” One American is not and two Americans are. –Marie-Louise Nixon, La Mesa

Your analysis is spot on, O Conan the Grammarian. In the service of subject-verb agreement, the verb should be singular in order to connect with the singular subject one. Reversing the halves of the sentence reveals the grammar: “[Of] three Americans, one is not getting enough sleep.”

DEAR RICHARD LEDERER: A sentence in one of your recent columns begins “A bevy of readers have asked me. . .” The grammar confused me. I expected a singular verb agreement with the collective noun bevy. Please explain your use of the plural verb have? –Claire Crilly, San Diego

When a group noun is modified by a prepositional phrase that includes a plural noun object, the verb is usually plural. Which would you say or write: “A group of students is attending the dean’s symposium” or “A group of students are attending the dean’s symposium”?

Most U.S. Standard English speakers and writers would choose the second version. Same with my sentence.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 5, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Second Day of English (2017)

On the second day of English

My true love gave me this:

Two survey results

And a mistletoe kiss!

If you’ve been reading the Editor’s Corner for a few years, you already know that I have a thing for these maps of different dialects and terms we use across the United States. It’s little words like the words in the following images that often give away where somebody is from, even when they don’t sound like they have a particular accent. Jackie still will not forgive me for saying “aid car” instead of “ambulance.” My husband pretends he doesn’t know what a “license tab” is when I renew my vehicle registration and put the sticker on the license plate.

Here are two dialect maps that I found interesting and funny, but there are several more here (Dialect Survey Results) if you are interested.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 4, 2017

Editor’s Corner: First Day of English (2017)

It’s another December and guess what that means? The 12 Days of English! Yes, it’s that time of year where I torture you with horrible rhymes! Each day, however, I will follow those rhymes with tidbits on our language—not partridges in pear trees, drummers drumming, or ladies dancing. Well, there may be a few dancing ladies if you’re lucky. Enjoy!

On the first day of English

My true love gave to me

The definition of a minute

In New York City.

Have you ever been to New York City? Well, if you have, you’ve probably noticed the big crowds, heard the passionate and vocal people, and experienced the New York minute. I remember going to a deli and trying to order a sandwich and feeling trampled by the customers and the sandwich makers. Everyone was in such a rush! The yelling back and forth, the people trying to pull the order from my lips—I felt like I was moving in slow motion as the world around me was cruising twice as fast. It was certainly not a relaxing lunch in the park!

Here is a definition of the New York minute, from The Grammarist:

In a New York minute means right away, immediately, quickly and without hesitation. As you may suppose, in a New York minute is an American idiom, but it did not originate in New York City. Rather, the expression in a New York minute is a reflection of how people in other parts of the United States view New York. Compared to many areas of the country, New York City life is extremely fast paced. The term in a New York minute was first recorded in the mid-twentieth century in Piney Woods, Texas, though exactly where in the Southern United States this phrase originated is unknown. Johnny Carson, a popular American entertainer of the 1980s described a New York minute as “the time it takes for the light in front of you to turn green and the guy behind you to honk his horn.” These observations of life in New York City are for the most part good-natured, and perhaps even carry a note of admiration.

Have your order ready!

(Click here for a taste of

New York.)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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