Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Interesting

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


12 Fun Headlines

I hope you are all excited that after long months of waiting, I am finally making a post! Enjoy.

1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
3. Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
4. Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
5. Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
6. Farmer Bill Dies in House
7. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
8. Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
9. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax
10. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
11. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies
12. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Power of Punctuation

For those that say punctuation doesn't matter, this news story begs to differ.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Semicolon Controversy

Go read this absolutely hilarious article about the supposed gender of the semicolon:

Semicolon: girlie? Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This Makes Me Happy

I love verbing. I think it's very funny and the source of many great new words. Go check out left-handed toons. More funny stuff where that came from.

Friday, August 1, 2008

One More Reason Not to Get a Tattoo

Just after "they're stupid" and "they're ugly" and closely related to reason number one,"they're permanent," comes reason most persuasive: "you can't spell."

In the words of Ross: "Y O U apostrophe R E means YOU ARE; Y O U R means your!" Similar issue with its here, people. Some weird possessive issues going on with the cards this guy was delt [sic] . . . oh wait, I mean sick.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Probably one of my worst language-related pet peeves is the misuse of the word “literally.” When people say things like “I literally exploded!” I get pretty excited waiting for the story of how they put all their atoms and molecules back together after being blown to a million bits. I suppose I am a bit sadistic. But seriously, let’s look at the definition for “literal”—1 a: according with the letter of the scriptures b: adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression : actual literal sense is impossible — B. N. Cardozo> c: free from exaggeration or embellishment literal truth> d: characterized by a concern mainly with facts literal man>

So you see, it just doesn’t make any sense to say, “I wanted to literally crack my head open like an egg.” However, it would make sense to say “I literally wanted to crack my head open like an egg.” See the difference? I really did want to – it was my actual, factual desire in that moment. I’ll tell you the story, as soon as that guy tells me how he got his molecules back in order.

Imagine my consternation then, when I read the second definition for “literally” from Merriam Webster: 2 : in effect : virtually literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice — Norman Cousins> WHAT!?! and yes, that is deserving of two exclamation points and a question mark, italics and bolding. I mean WHAT!?! why in the world should a word have two meanings that are in exact opposition to each other? It very much angers me. They say that it is used in a hyperbolic sense, but I think that people really just have no idea what it means when they say they are literally hungry enough to eat an elephant. You are not that hungry. I know that. …Literally.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

O.K., o.k., Okay, OK, or okay?

So I learned something interesting. And by interesting I mean interesting to me because I'm a geeky editor who loves words. I've always wondered why the heck when I've typed "okay" in the past it sometimes pulls up as a misspelling. Turns out "okay" is not Merriam-Webster's, a.k.a THE dictionary to use, preferred spelling. It lists OK as the spelling for the word that means "all right." So I guess a long time ago OK did not used to mean "all right" as it does today. It is an abbreviation derived from oll korrect, a facetious alteration of all correct. It dates back to 1839. So I think, if I remember correctly, it's an abbreviation that was used on printer's proof to state that everything was OK, i.e. "all correct." Overtime the meaning and usage of the word has changed to mean "all right." But I personally prefer "okay" to OK. OK seems weird to me. How are you feeling today? I'm feeling OK. It just looks weird. And since the usage has changed I don't think it's appropriate to use it as an abbreviation anymore. And please don't add periods. That just makes it even more awkward. As much as I love my M-W, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I will forever spell it as okay.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tips for Proper English

I love this list. Just FYI, don't take the tips seriously. They are meant to be tongue-in-cheek. :)

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. Remember to never split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren't necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
13. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. Be more or less specific.
15. Understatement is always best.
16. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
17. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
18. The passive voice is to be avoided.
19. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
20. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
21. Who needs rhetorical questions?
22. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
23. Don't never use a double negation.
24. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point
25. Do not put statements in the negative form.
26. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
27. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
28. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
29. A writer must not shift your point of view.
30. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
31. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
32. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
33. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
34. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
35. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
36. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
37. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
38. Always pick on the correct idiom.
39. The adverb always follows the verb.
40. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.

Pronunciation- GHOTI

English, coming from many sources, (yes, even French. Sorry, but it's true) has a bunch of wacky messed up rules, especially pertaining to spelling and Pronunciation.

For example, how would you pronounce: "Ghoti?" If you're like me (and George Bernard Shaw, and other linguistic lovers, though Shaw wanted to simplify our spelling, but that's a topic for another day) we would pronounce it "fish." Why, you ask? Simple:

the -gh sound in "laugh."
the -o sound in "women."
and the -ti sound in "nation."

Get it? Ghoti= fish.

Thank you to my old teacher, Professor Harper for teaching me that fun tidbit of spelling, and thank you, English language, for being so messed up that we can say "Ghoti" and sound like the kind of meat that nobody likes!


Welcome to CACCAA!

This is Tracie speaking, cofounder of the Coalition against Cacophonous Commas and Abused Apostrophes. Charity is the other cofounder and my co-conspirator in our little world. Because Charity and I are quirky and editors and quirky editors, we have created this blog in an attempt to rant/rave against the many English errors we see in this world. This blog will also serve as a place to discuss the quirkiness of the English language in general. What this blog is NOT intended for is to insult or demean or pick on our various friends and family members. If you learn something from our blog, great. But please don’t think we are making fun of you or that we think you are unintelligent. Just remember, we are editors by profession and spirit, thus the quirkiness and analness of our general attitude about the English language.

Today's Rant

Why in the world don't scientists, of all people, understand that phenomenon is the singular form and phenomena is PLURAL!