Those small cubes with each side having a different number of spots on it used to play craps in Vegas or Yahtzee on a wild Friday night at home? They are an irregular plural in English.
one die two dice
Please note that there is no ‘s’ at the end of “dice” just like there is no ‘s’ at the end of “mice”.
Oh “Two Dices”, you really should have called someone who knows better (me perhaps) before getting all your lovely cars painted.
Word to the wise – if you would like to give your new enterprise an English name, check with a native English speaker (once again, me perhaps) to make sure it is spelled properly, it is grammatically correct, and it makes sense for what you are selling. It’s true that some departures from the norm can be witty,
but let’s be frank, most are just sloppy mistakes.
Just call me next time.
Punctuation may not be exciting or sexy, but it is useful. Take quotation marks, for example. As with many things, when used properly, one hardly notices them.
When directly quoting someone like George W. Bush…
He said, “I know the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.”
When used improperly…(insert scratched record sound here)…
“We greatly” “appreciate” “your business.” “Please come” “back” “Thank you” all.
(handwritten sign posted in the window of a small shop)
Let’s briefly review when to use quotation marks in English:
1. Use quotation marks to indicates words directly quoted from another source (unless the quotation is very long and can make up it’s own paragraph).
2. Use quotation marks to indicate titles of short works such as poems, songs, short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, essays, and episodes of television shows
e.g. “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
3. Use quotation marks to indicate sarcasm.
e.g. It seems that you’ve been “watching Grey’s Anatomy” with Sven an awful lot lately.
You can find a whole blog dedicated to examples of unnecessary quotation marks here. Surf and learn.
Let’s face it
English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England
French fries were not invented in France.
We sometimes take English for granted
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly
Boxing rings are square
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing.
If the plural of tooth is teeth
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth
If the teacher taught,
Why didn’t the preacher praught.
If a vegetarian eats vegetables
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?!
Why do people recite at a play
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!
English was invented by people, not computers
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)
That is why
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
But when I wind up this observation,
“Some top-tier American business schools are offering more than just finance and marketing these days: Duke, UCLA, MIT and Stanford are all teaching improv. Professors say these techniques help students increase collaboration, creativity and risk taking.”
The NPR story by Julia Flucht continues here (audio and transcript).
If you are wondering how you might use improvisation in your organization, contact Cyntactic for more information.
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SWEDISH/ENGLISH FALSE FRIENDS
Sign up to Cyntactic’s mailing list to receive occasional tips and course offering updates. In return, you will immediately get a list of common Swedish/English False Friends - words that sound and look similar between our languages but don’t really mean what you think they mean - for free. Free stuff - who doesn’t have time for that?