Beware of heard, a dreadful word That looks like beard and sounds like bird, And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead — For goodness’ sake, don’t call it deed! Presumably written by a frustrated immigrant trying to learn the language, this poem exemplifies the inconsistencies in English. As related in The Story of English
Author Archives: Bob Welbaum
I once worked with a young lady who was in her first job. She told me the story of how she had gotten hired at 18, and all the living space she could afford was an efficiency apartment. At that time, she was very close to her little brother, who was about ten years younger.
“An optimist stays up to see the New Year in. A pessimist waits to make sure the old one leaves.” — Bill Vaughn “Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.” — Oprah Winfrey http://www.quotationspage.com/
When I substitute teach, I always have backup plans — books and topics we can talk about if we run out of material. One of my favorites used to be The Book of Totally Useless Information by Don Voorhees (MJF Books, 1993). It contains an entry on obscene gestures entitled “When did it first become
I recently finished reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A fascinating book, it was really a political history of four men. I always wondered how Lincoln was able to win the presidential nomonation with so little experience in Washington. (He positioned himself as everyone’s second choice.) Of
Having spent 15 years in the publishing business, I know there’s no such thing as a perfect book.(And if there ever were, the computer would eat the file.) So what about dictionaries? In the book The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, Bill Bryson explains one error. The 1934 Merriam-Webster International Dictionary