Posted by: episystechpubs | July 3, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Speak now…

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I try to do it so that we have healthy meals at home. In exchange, while I’m doing it, I subject the entire household to ahorrible, guilty pleasure: Bridezillas. I think part of me feels better for disliking this traditionally female activity (cooking) as I watch the most terrible, selfish, rude women in our country prepare for their weddings. After watching them, I feel like I must be a real prize for my husband. J

Anyway, on one of the last episodes of the season, the pastor said, “Speak now, or forever hold your peace,” and the groom’s sister told her brother he was making a huge mistake. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t listen. That got me wondering, why do we say that? Here to answer that question with a little history, is The Grammarist:

Speak now or forever hold your peace is an admonition to immediately share information that may not be known by others, or else keep this information to yourself for eternity. This phrase is derived from the Christian marriage ceremony. During medieval times, communication between distant communities was at best, spotty. To combat bigamy, or the practice of marrying multiple people in secret, the practice of marriage banns was enacted. When a marriage was impending it was announced for three consecutive Sundays. This would give all parishioners a chance to raise an objection to the marriage, usually on the grounds that the groom in question was already married to someone else. During the actual marriage ceremony, as a last chance to hear anyone’s information regarding the illegitimacy of the marriage about to take place, the priest was required to state that if anyone knew why the couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. This phrase is often, but not always, included in today’s marriage ceremonies as a formality.

The term speak now or forever hold your peace is now sometimes used in other situations as a warning that is one’s last chance to object to something or voice an opinion.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
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is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
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Posted by: episystechpubs | July 2, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Food Phrases

Someone recently called me a good egg. When I hear the phrase good egg, I automatically think of the phrase bad egg and the scene from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when Veruca Salt goes down the garbage chute.

Today, I thought it would be fun to review some food phrases. I gathered these phrases from various online sources.

good egg: a good person

bad egg: a bad person

have all your eggs in one basket: put too much faith in one thing

have egg on one’s face: to be caught or embarrassed

to walk on eggshells: to try hard not to upset someone or something

it’s all gravy: it’s all good

that’s the way the cookie crumbles: that is the way things happen

piece of cake: easy

icing on the cake: something added to something else that is already good

easy as pie: very easy

sell like hotcakes: to sell quickly

spill the beans: give away a secret

full of beans: lively or hyper

big cheese: an important person

use your noodle: use your brain

go bananas or go nuts: to go crazy

bring home the bacon: go earn money

a bun in the oven: pregnant

bread and butter: basic needs of life (food, shelter, clothing)

wake up and smell the coffee: to become aware of your surroundings

cup of tea: something one enjoys or does well

the best thing since sliced bread: a big deal

as keen as mustard: very enthusiastic

as cool as a cucumber: calm and unruffled

two peas in a pod: two identical items or people

a watched pot never boils: time moves slowly when you’re waiting for something to happen

cream of the crop: the best of the best

a lemon: something useless or defective

there’s no use crying over spilled milk: don’t complain about something that has already happened or that can’t be changed

peanuts: low wage

in a pickle: to be in a difficult situation

take something with a grain of salt: to be skeptical of a promise or statement; or to not take things literally or harshly

the proof is in the pudding: something is successful and useful because it has been tried before

butter someone up: to flatter or praise someone

landed in soup: to be in trouble

souped up: to change something to make it faster or more powerful

hot potato: a question or argument that is controversial and difficult to settle

to know your onions: to know a lot about a particular subject

to cherry-pick: to unfairly choose the best people or things

to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut: to do something with more force than is necessary to achieve the results you want

fish out of water: to be uncomfortable in a particular situation

to have bigger fish to fry: to have more important things to do

something is fishy: something is suspicious

a knuckle sandwich: a punch

a sandwich short of a picnic: stupid or crazy

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 29, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Folk Etymologies

Oh boy! This post from Daily Writing Tips is right up my alley! Words, animals, etymologiessome of my favorite things all wrapped into one! I hope you find this as interesting as I did! (For the complete list, click the link above.)

Happy Friday!

This post lists words derived from words in other languages as a result of folk etymology, a process by which speakers adopt the foreign terms after revising them by using existing elements from their native language.

caterpillar: The word for a butterfly or moth larva stems from the Old French word catepelose (hairy cat); the alteration of the third and fourth syllables to -pillar (from Middle English piller, meaning plunderer) may have developed from the notion of its destructive effect on plants.

geoduck: This name for a Pacific Northwest clam, which comes from a local Native American term, has nothing to do with ducksor with the Latin prefix geo-, meaning earth; also, the spelling of the first two syllables is inexplicable, since they are pronounced like gooey.

greyhound: The first syllable of this word does not refer to the dogs color; it is from the Old English term grieg, referring to a female dog.

mongoose: The animals name stems from mamgusa in Prakrit, an Indic language. (It has nothing to do with geese, so the plural is mongooses.)

muskrat: This animal is a rodent, but its name is not derived from its scent or its kinship with rats; the word from which it derives is of Algonquian origin.

polecat: The first syllable of this name for a mammal in the weasel family (also an alternative name for the polecats relative, the skunk) is derived from the French term poul (the base of poultry), from its barnyard depredations.

popinjay: This older term for a parrot, now exclusively applied to an arrogant person, is ultimately from the Arabic word babgh.

sockeye: The name for a type of salmon does not refer to its eyes; it originates from an attempt to pronounce a Native American word for the fish.

white rhinoceros: White, in the name of this animal, is not a reference to its color; it stems from the Afrikaans adjective weit, meaning wide, a description that distinguishes its wide upper lip from the pointed lip of the black rhinoceros.

woodchuck: This alternative name for the groundhog derives from the assignment of two English words whose sounds resemble those of a Cree word.

Momma woodchuck and her wood-chucking babies.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 28, 2018

Editor’s Corner: More About “Fewer” and “Less”

Recently, I included the word pair “fewer and less” in an article about misused phrases. My advice was to use “fewer” for things you can count (like 140 characters) and “less” for things you cannot count (like love).

Ron H. replied with a very good question. He asked if fewer is really correct in this example:

  • Your training session should last fewer than 60 minutes.

The quick answer is no. Ron’s instincts are correct. There is more to that rule than I originally stated. With English, there is always more to the grammar rule!

The full rule states that time, money, distance, and weight are exceptions to the “if you can count it” rule.

Many of you, like Ron, probably know this instinctively, but I think it will help to provide examples. The following sentences correctly use “less” instead of “fewer” for things you can count:

Time: I can run a mile in less than 10 minutes. (Don’t laugh.)

Money: His new car cost less than $30,000.

Distance: My brother lives less than 20 miles away from me.

Weight: I weigh about 75 pounds less than my big brother.

For all other discussions of about having fewer or less of something, stick with the original rule: use “fewer” for things you can count (like the number of dogs you have) and “less” for things you cannot count (like the joy your dogs bring).

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 27, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Tmesis

As happens at times, I receive a newsletter with something in it that makes me want to learn more. I received this email from The Grammarist about the word tmesis, and I almost didn’t open it. What an ugly looking word! But I thought, “It looks Greek. I owe it to my Greek relatives and friends to have a look.” I’m so glad I did! Here are some excerpts from the Grammarist:

A tmesis is a word that includes another word inside it. When constructing a tmesis, the speaker splits a word to insert another word inside it, usually to be humorous or to emphasize something. Some examples of a tmesis are fan-frickin’-tastic, some-other-where, zero-dark-thirty.

The word tmesis has been in use since the 1500s and is derived from the Greek word tmesis which means a cutting.

Of course, this wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more examples and I found some great information on a site about Literary Devices. I’ve cut a lot of the article out and rearranged some things to provide the examples, but if you’d like the full meal deal, just visit the site.

Tmesis is an insertion of a word between the parts of a word, a compound word, or a phrase (phrasal verbs usually). It is a practice of dividing a phrase or word into its components by inserting another word in the middle of that phrase or word. Tmesis is commonly employed in words that have more than three syllables.

Function of Tmesis

Tmesis is mainly used to create humor, and lay emphasis on a particular word or phrase. The Romans and Greeks used tmesis for special effects in literature. In comedy, it works as over-done exaggeration. In poetry, its task is to stress a point, as it forces readers to give more attention to the cut phrase or line. It is regularly used in informal speech, as well. In Australian English, it is called “tumba rumba.”

And now for the examples and additional explanation:

  1. Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw

Eliza Dolitttle: “Fan-bloody-tastic” or “abso-blooming-lutely

  1. Richard II, by William Shakespeare

“How-heinous-ever it be,”

  1. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

“This is not Romeo, he’s some other where.”

In this excerpt, “somewhere” is split up by inserting the word “other.” The purpose of splitting up the word is to highlight and draw the focus of readers to the fact that Romeo is not there, but somewhere else.

  1. Hymn to Christ, by John Donne

    “In whattorn shipsoever I embark,
    That ship shall be my emblem
    Whatseasoever swallow me, that flood
    Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood.”

    This is a very good example of phrasal verb tmesis. “Whatsoever” is split into two parts by inserting the words, “torn ship.” The same is done in the third line, where the word “sea” is inserted in the middle of the compound word “whatsoever.”

  2. Troilus & Cressida, by William Shakespeare

    “That man–how dearly ever parted.”

    Shakespeare uses tmesis in his literary pieces. Here, the insertion of the word “dearly” into “however” emphasizes the fond feeling that the speaker has towards the dead person.

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
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
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 | June 26, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Flip Side

Dear Editrix,

Here’s a good one for you. Where did the phrase “catch you on the flip side” come from?

Sincerely,

Keeping You on Your Toes!

Dear Keeping,

You’re right, you are keeping me on my toes! I thought this sounded like a reference to records (they are these things made of vinyl that we used to put on a machine called a “record player” so we could listen to music); but it is a little more complicated than that.

I’m going to paraphrase what I learned from the radio show, “A Way with Words” since what I heard there was more reliable than some of the information I read.

“Catch you on the flip side” means “See you later.” Indeed, it comes from the days of playing vinyl records, in particular, 45s. The hit song was on side A of the record; a less known song was on the B side of the record, called “the flip side.”

The “A Way with Words” experts said the first time this phrase showed up in print was in 1976, and it was in reference to CB radio users who co-opted the phrase to mean “See you later, on my return trip.” CB radio users also said, “See you on the flip flop.”

Apparently, the phrase made a resurgence in the 1990s and is coming back again.

If you have evidence of anything written before the mid-70s about this phrase (that isn’t in reference to CB radio lingo) the folks on the radio want to talk to you!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 25, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Commas, Parentheses, or Em Dashes?

Parenthetical phrases (also called parentheticals) provide nonessential information, such as examples, clarifications, or asides.

Parentheticals can be set off with commas, parentheses, or em dashes (—). How do you decide which punctuation to use?

Sometimes, there are readability considerations. If the parenthetical phrase already contains commas, it can be confusing to add more commas to the mix. In the following example, the second sentence is easier to understand than the first:

· “The Marx Brothers, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico, made 13 films.”

· “The Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, and Chico) made 13 films.”

In many cases, the decision is purely stylistic. Commas are least noticeable, em dashes are very dramatic, and parentheses are somewhere in between. The following explanations and examples are from The Chicago Manual of Style:

If only a slight break is intended, commas may be used to set off a parenthetical element inserted into a sentence as an explanation or comment.

· “All the test participants, in spite of our initial fears, recovered.”

· “The Hooligan Report was, to say the least, a bombshell.”

Parentheses are stronger than a comma and similar to the dash. Like dashes but unlike commas, parentheses can set off text that has no grammatical relationship to the rest of the sentence.

· “He suspected that the noble gases (helium, neon, etc.) could produce a similar effect.”

· “Intelligence tests (e.g., the Stanford-Binet) are no longer widely used.”

· “Our final sample (collected under difficult conditions) contained an impurity.”

Em dashes can function as an alternative to parentheses, especially when an abrupt break in thought or sentence structure is called for.

· “The influence of three impressionists—Monet, Sisley, and Degas—is obvious in her work.”

· “The chancellor—he had been awake half the night—came down in an angry mood.”

· “My friends—that is, my former friends—ganged up on me.”

Tip: Don’t use spaces before or after an em dash.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 | www.Symitar.com

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
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 | June 24, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Affect, Effect, and Aflac

Affect and effect are always high on the list of topics we’re asked to revisit. I received this little tidbit that I thought I’d add to our many explanations through the years (go to Editor’s Corner and search affect for more). This is from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation newsletter:

· Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean “bring about” or “brought about,” “cause” or “caused.”

Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Example: She effected a change in procedure.
Meaning: She brought about a change in procedure.

· Rule: Use the noun effect when you mean “result.”
Example: What effect did that speech have?

· Rule: Use the verb affect when you mean “to influence” rather than “to cause.”
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

· Rule: Affect is also used as a noun to mean “emotional expression.”
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

Of course, these should not be confused with Aflac® the insurance company…

Or Affleck, of the Ben variety…

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 22, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Affect, Effect, and Aflac

Affect and effect are always high on the list of topics we’re asked to revisit. I received this little tidbit that I thought I’d add to our many explanations through the years (go to Editor’s Corner and search affect for more). This is from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation newsletter:

· Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean “bring about” or “brought about,” “cause” or “caused.”

Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Example: She effected a change in procedure.
Meaning: She brought about a change in procedure.

· Rule: Use the noun effect when you mean “result.”
Example: What effect did that speech have?

· Rule: Use the verb affect when you mean “to influence” rather than “to cause.”
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

· Rule: Affect is also used as a noun to mean “emotional expression.”
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

Of course, these should not be confused with Aflac® the insurance company…

Or Affleck, of the Ben variety…

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | June 21, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Incorrect Phrases

Good morning, friends.

I’ve been keeping a list of phrases that about half the English-speaking world seems to get wrong. I know there are a lot more than I’ve listed here, but these are the ones I see and hear most often. Because the mistakes are so prevalent, I thought I’d share them with you so that you can avoid them.

Correct term Incorrect term Correct example Reason
I couldn’t care less I could care less I couldn’t care less if you eat the last piece of pizza. It doesn’t make sense to say you “could care less.” That means you actually care to start with.
Light bulb went on Light bulb went off Oh, I see what you mean! The light bulb just went on. When you have an idea, the light bulb turns on. If it turns off while you’re thinking, you have a problem.
Flesh out Flush out You need to flesh out your argument. To “flesh out” means to expand. Let’s not think too much about what “flush out” means.
Regardless Irregardless I will swim in the Pacific Ocean today, regardless of the frigid temperature. You don’t need the prefix “ir” and the suffix “less.” They both serve to negate.
Should have

(could have,

would have)

Should of

(could of, would of)

I should have told you I was going to stop by. This mistake is made as a back formation of “should’ve.” It sounds like “should of” but is actually a contraction of “should have.”
Fewer than Less than Your tweet must be fewer than 140 characters. People often use “less than” when they should use “fewer than.” Use “fewer” for things you can count (like 140 characters) and “less” for things you cannot count (like love).

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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