New words are added to the dictionary every year. Here are a few that were added in 2011:
Now, while I'm sure "cougar" has been in the dictionary for a while, obviously its new definition has just been added, and that's fine, but do we really need "bromance"? And "fist bump"? I'm continually shocked, although I shouldn't be, at how few words the average person's vocabulary contains now. If you do some research on it, there are various points of view on exactly how many words the average person uses, but there does seem to be consensus on the fact that it's fewer now than it used to be.
Here's a thought. As well as adding new words and phrases to the dictionary each year, wouldn't it be interesting to resurrect some amazing words that aren't used in everyday conversations any more? I have some favorites. Maybe you do too?
Here's one: "pulchritudinous." How mouth-wateringly lovely is that word? Instead of calling someone merely pretty or beautiful, to extol the virtues of pulchritude is just, well, more interesting.
Let me know your favorite words that seem to have fallen out of fashion. Maybe we can start a new trend. I'll post a couple more of mine very soon.
This is one of my favorites since it epitomizes the best in unintentional funniness while also being endearingly cute.
This sign obviously had another portion attached to its front end at one point in time - the portion that read: "Environ." What's funny is that after I took this photograph while hiking on one of the trails near my house, it was taken down for a while. I thought maybe they'd correct it, and the trail would once more become "Environmentally Sensitive." But no, the sign went back up and reads the same.
Maybe there are still some people in the park ranger's office with a sense of humor? I'm just glad it's there. It makes me smile every day when I walk past it.
This one definitely falls into the category of "say what you mean," and you could argue that most all of these do.
We all love signs that make us laugh, so without further ado, click here to read the article and pick your favorite.
Oh, how I wish I had a picture to go with this one, but unfortunately it just wasn't possible. Walking to my car in downtown Laguna Beach a few days ago, I spotted a produce truck as the stream of traffic rolled by. Not an amazing sight, I'll grant you, but something written on the side of the truck caught my attention. Beneath the name of the purveyor (which I will not divulge to avoid embarrassment) was this statement, in these exact words:
"6 Day Delivery"
Now, I'll admit that this is probably just me, the grammar geek, but I'm pretty sure this isn't what they mean. Let me explain.
What the establishment wants to convey to its customers and the public at large, is that it delivers fresh produce six days a week. Maybe if they'd added "Monday through Saturday" it would have helped somewhat.
However, due to the way this is phrased, what it's really saying is that it takes them six days to deliver their fresh produce. Hmm. Fresh isn't exactly fresh if it's been sitting on a truck for six days. Amazon offers 2-day delivery, UPS has 1-day delivery, but fresh produce should hopefully be speedy.
So, be careful with your phrasing. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, or people like me will love the opportunity to write a strongly worded letter to tell you it's wrong.
When we read, we want to believe that what's written is true and accurate, and we hope, when we browse newspapers, magazines and online news sites, that someone - hopefully an editor with a sharp eye - has checked and blessed the copy in front of us.
As the example to the left shows, this isn't always the case. Whether the editor didn't catch the mistake or didn't even know it was inaccurate, silly grammatical errors can and do occur every day. In this instance, the writer intended to explain to us how the people in the article rode their bicycles. However the verb in the title actually tells us something very different.
Ah, the difference between "pedaling" and "peddling." The former is the accurate descriptor for making a bicycle move. The latter is usually used in a derogatory way to describe selling something a little distasteful. Generally, when somebody is peddling something, it's something you don't really want.
Now, I'm aware that my local Laguna newspaper is not The New York Times, or The Daily Telegraph, but the point is that whether you're communicating locally or nationally, you, or whoever you rely on to check things, need to pay attention to the details. It's the little things that matter, and those are what people will remember.