April showers bring May flowers

April showers bring May flowers—or so we’ve been told. One source traces that phrase to an 1886 saying which might have deeper roots in a 1610 poem. Another source says the phrase should sound like this: “March winds bring April showers which bring May flowers AND June bugs.”  In general, rain does affect the timing and…

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May these thoughts spurn you on. What?

Delores E. Topliff You may have seen this great post about Acryologia shared on Facebook. But wait, there’s more; and I make no apologies. I love delightful word misuses and have a small collection of my own. Plus I also manage to goof up occasionally and get my tang toungled. Years ago when many products…

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More Punctuation History and Oddities

Delores E. Topliff My post on using the Oxford Comma (or not) made me examine other punctuation. From speech class, I know that commas are visual directions to take a breath when speaking but also clarify written material when reading silently. Written language didn’t always have punctuation. Its lines and dots are visual signs to…

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To use, or not to use, the Oxford Comma

While critiquing a friend’s work, I questioned her comma usage so checked the definition of the Oxford Comma. Here’s what I found. “The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its aficionados say it clarifies sentences in which…

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Happy Valentine’s Day Tomorrow and Every Day

Delores E. Topliff Valentine’s Day is a happy occasion for receiving flowers, chocolates, sweeter words, and maybe good books. If you’re a book lover, there are few things finer—and some of us have a hard time parting with any of them. But really, why should we? One of life’s highest joys is being surrounded by…

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Humorous words to make us sit up and take notice

Delores E. Topliff Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous. (Winston Churchill loved them). Instead of predictable words we might tune out, they snap us awake and make us sit up to take notice. There are plenty, and here are fun…

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Consider these larger-than-life word names in our language

Delores E. Topliff We have words in our everyday vocabulary, with roots in history, that have grown larger than life. Jezebel was the Phoenician wife of King Ahab who urged Israel to worship Baal. Her schemes killed Naboth, and she vowed to kill Elijah, but instead dogs licked her blood as Elijah prophesied. Today her name describes any impudent,…

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Hear ye, Hear ye, read all about it!

Delores E. Topliff Welcome to 2018, a year of fresh opportunities to create history and make headlines. In fact, there’s no reason any of us might not make news in 2018 by introducing popular new products, best-selling books, useful inventions, medical breakthroughs–the sky’s the limit. The only bottom-line requirement is enough innovation to prove Solomon…

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The Twelve Days of Christmas (or How many people and objects can you crowd into your home?)

Delores E. Topliff How do you manage Christmas in terms of fitting all invited family members into your home? Do you spill into the yard? Spread out even further? This former introvert is now a people person who tucks in all I can–the more the merrier. But even I am stunned at the high number…

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Some fiction characters are so real, they become part of our vocabulary.

Delores E. Topliff Who hasn’t heard of Scrooge? Or seen a cold-hearted miser and been sure they’ve met Scrooge’s brother? (Disney even recreated the Dickens character as Scrooge McDuck.) Or we may meet a total optimist whose personality cheers us all and recognize a Pollyanna. Memorable fiction characters from beloved books are so familiar, their names…

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