Who wrote the first English dictionary?

Yes, it was that crusty 18th century curmudgeon, Samuel Johnson. It took him nine years, although he claimed it was only three.  He wrote the first English dictionary that influenced the English language for hundreds of years. He wrote it without a typewriter. Without a computer. Yes, he did it all by hand–with a  quill pen and ink. Would you have had the grit to do that?  

 

 

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Purdue OWL: Punctuation

Check out PURDUE OWL on the internet for an Overview of Punctuation

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“Summary:

When speaking, we can pause or change the tone of our voices to indicate emphasis. When writing, we must use punctuation to indicate these places of emphasis. This resource should help to clarify when and how to use various marks of punctuation

When speaking, we can pause or change the tone of our voices to indicate emphasis. When writing, we use punctuation to indicate these places of emphases. This handout should help to clarify when and how to use various marks of punctuation.” [From PURDUE OWL.] Continue reading

Punctuation as Road Signs

imagesgThat’s one way to think about them. You wouldn’t be safe driving without them. How would you know when to stop? When to give way to the other driver? Just try driving in a country without Road Signs and you know what I mean. It’s dangerous.

With punctuation, it’s a case of meaning–knowing that the writer actually meant to say. One recent famous case is “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” by Lynn Tauss. What does that sentence really mean? Did he eat, shoot and then leave? Or….and here’s what we find out…It’s really “[the panda] eats shoots and leaves.” That’s what keeps him alive…So, you see, the punctuation really did makes a difference. Those commas in the original phrase tricked you.

 

One space or two? You choose

indexguten_1_How many spaces after a period?” I hear this question from many people–my students at Brookdale Community College, executives at business writing seminars.  It’s a big debate that can go on for a half hour or so. But there is a simple answer. Before I give it to you I’d like you to take this brief quiz. Then move on to the history and answer.
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“Me and Joe” at the Jersey Shore

 

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I love the Jersey Shore. That’s why I moved to Red Bank on the Navesink at the top of it. But it wasn’t long before I discovered something that drove me crazy. No, it wasn’t the Jersey accent, it was the Jersey Shore was grammar. There was one consistent Jersey grammar error that everyone seemed to make–and no one seemed embarrassed when you pointed it out to them.

It went like this: “Me and Joe had dinner at Pazzo last night.”  Or “She joined he and me for dinner.” I even heard that kind of sentence from lawyers and politicians.  Continue reading