Category Archives: The English Language

Two Ways To Be A Writer

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel and didn’t know where to begin, you might try looking for a formula or recipe, and simply plug in the words. Yes, there are some basic formulas for writing fiction. Recently I have found two. The first is called “The Hero’s Journey.” Various writers have put forth

Read More

Adventures in Poetry — Clerihews

There are many different ways to write poetry — free verse, limericks, sonnets, Haiku, etc. I’ve just learned of another — clerihews. According to Wikipedia, “A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an

Read More

The Opposite of Paranoia

In my lifetime I can never remember having three crises at once — Covid-19, a stumbling economy, and nationwide protests against police brutality. Put those before an electorate that’s already deeply divided and you have a perfect situation for spawning all types of conspiracy theories. It reminds me of that old saying “You’d be paranoid

Read More

Where Do Our Expressions Come From?

We have a lot of slang sayings in English. How they originate, and how they change over time, can lead to some interesting stories. First, have you heard of the expression “parting shot” ? The modern definition is “a final critical comment.” But its genesis is distinctly ancient. It origin is probably the adjective Parthian, which

Read More

Why Do You Support?

Earlier today, I was talking politics with a friend and the question of supporting President Donald Trump came up. Should you support him in this time of crisis because he is the president, even though you don’t agree with him? In doing so, are you supporting the country for a greater good, or just him

Read More

What is Gaslighting?

Recently I found an article with the provocative title of “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting” by Julio Vincent Gambuto (https://forge.medium.com/prepare-for-the-ultimate-gaslighting-6a8ce3f0a0e0). I realize English is a flexible language with many manufactured words and slang terms, but I’ve never heard of this before. What is gaslighting? It’s actually a relatively old expression. Wikipedia defines it as “a

Read More

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare

We can’t ignore this one. This is thought to be Shakespeare’s birthday, although no one know for sure. The Writer’s Almanac for today (April 23, 2020, https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-writers-almanac?) has an excellent summary of his life, better than anything I could write, so I’m just going to copy it here. “It’s the assumed birthday of William Shakespeare (books by this

Read More