November 23, 2015
Choosing Specific Nouns and VerbsTOPICS: COPY EDITING, GRAMMAR, WRITING
If you pay close attention to your reading material, you'll see a clear pattern among the pros: Unlike amateur writers, they prefer specific nouns and verbs over vague ones. Here's how to put specific words to work in your writing.
Click player above to listen to the podcast
Mondegreens and EggcornsPosted by June on November 23, 2015
Here are two fun language terms to roll out at your next cocktail party.
A mondegreen is any misheard expression, lyric, catchphrase or slogan. The name itself is a mondegreen. For example, there's an old John Prine song called "That's the Way That the World Goes 'Round" with the lyric, "It's a half an inch of water and you think you're going to drown." As the Prine has repeated many times, a woman once asked him to play the happy enchilada song. When he asked her what she was talking about, she recited the lyric: "It's a happy enchilada and you think you're going to drown."
Related to the concept mondegreens are eggcorns, which are also misheard terms, including one derived from “acorn.”
The name mondegreen comes from a misheard lyric from the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl of Moray.” In the song are the words “laid him on the green,” which some people famously misheard as “laid him mondegreen.” The name eggcorn came into being exactly as you'd guess.
June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more
The Best Punctuation Book, Period
A Comprehensive Guide for Every Writer, Editor, Student, and Businessperson
The most comprehensive punctuation guide ever, “The Best Punctuation Book, Period” doesn’t just cover the basic rules. It delves into gray areas of punctuation left unclear by the other rule books, showing how the rules differ in four different editing styles. There's also an A to Z reference of commonly mispunctuated terms. more
Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies
A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite
What do suicidal pandas, doped-up rock stars, and a naked Pamela Anderson have in common? They’re all a heck of a lot more interesting than reading about predicate nominatives and hyphens. June Casagrande knows this and has invented a whole new twist on the grammar book. more
Mortal Syntax takes on the 101 most frequently attacked usage choices. Dedicating one short chapter to each, Casagrande brings her subject to life, teaching English usage through lively and amusing personal anecdotes. more
It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences
Your story may be brilliant. Your insights may be groundbreaking. Your characters may be so real you can almost touch them. But they're not worth a thing if you can't bring them to life in well-written sentences. more