Write Again…The way we speak and write

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Highly interesting. Riveting. A “must read.” Engrossing. Timely. Perceptive. Witty. Entertaining. Memorable…and much more.

All of the above does not – does not – describe today’s column. Unfortunately.

So. You’ve been forewarned. Read on, if you so choose.

Today’s scribblings are about a few – only a few – common punctuation and word usage errors; and words and phrases, many which linger and become overused cliches, even when they may be used incorrectly. 

Space constraints will not allow for complete examples and explanations which would bring a bit of needed clarification in some cases.

Enough, already. Let’s get started.

First, punctuation:

It. It’s. Just remember, if it’s a pronoun it doesn’t have an apostrophe. If it’s a contraction, it does. Then there’s the pesky “I” and “me.”

Appositives. Commas (two) are used. A title or designation, no commas required. Okay? “We heard President Biden’s address.” No commas. “We heard the President, Joe Biden, speak.” Commas needed.

Now for a few common “meaning mistakes.” Close proximity (redundant). Podium. Hopefully. Momentarily. Funeral service (redundant). 

A mistake, now seemingly accepted: Snuck (sneak-sneaked-sneaked). 

On to cliches: Walk it back. Double down. Re-visit. Problematic. Breaking news. Bombshell. The whole nine yards. Bought the farm. The whole ball of wax.

Spot on. A one-off. On the ground (not in a tree, a building, the water etc).

No problem. The path forward. On the day (or night, game, season). Pivot. Escalate. Impact. A ton of. At the end of the day. Time frame. Blowback. Concerning. 

Double down. Point in time. Deep dive. Inflection point. Tipping point. Resonates. Tasked. Back-to-back (should be front to back). Cancel culture.

Went missing (as if the person or inanimate object decided to leave of his/her own volition). On the same page. Take a listen.

Now, if I had to cite one, just one, overused example, it would be (you have probably guessed it already): “You guys.” Oh, yes. It seems that some folks simply must address others as “you guys.” A gender neutral usage.

Let me close with a real-life example. At a meeting many years ago of educators who were the school-community coordinators for their respective school systems, a young man stood and advised us that we all needed to “network, interface, and dialogue.”

Oh, yes. All of that in just one sentence. I didn’t attend any more meetings at that conference.

Let’s end this right here. I’m sure “you guys” (oops) you have some thoughts, examples, you could add. 

Enjoy your weekend.

Ciao. (Note I didn’t say “Have a nice day.”)

But I hope you do.