A Sentence Out of Order

A rule in English is to put modifiers as close to what they modify as you can. Adjectives generally go directly before the noun they modify, a blue car, for example. (Except for post-positives such as “malice aforethought.”)

Adjectival phrases can go afterwards, but what do you do when you have more than one of those phrases? You put the phrase as close as you can to the thing it modifies. Here’s a guy who didn’t:

Decades ago, psychologist Benjamin Libet monitored subjects’ neural activity while they chose to hit a button, and he discovered a burst of activity preceding the conscious decision to push the button by a split second.


What does that split second refer to? It refers to the burst of activity, not pushing the button! He didn’t need so many big words, either. How about this:

… he discovered a burst of activity a split second before the decision to push the button.

Well, I think the sentence is easier to follow now.

This sort of thing is part of good writing. No clear-cut rule, just good judgement.

  • When you write, think how you might be misunderstood, and don’t do that.
  • Try not to cause bumps for your reader.

I Mentioned this Redundancy Before

But it’s from The Washington Post, a place where I expect better writing. The quote is lengthy, so I made the solecisms bold.

Carrie Dennett writes about why the Traffic Light Diet, a system of assigning the colors red, yellow and green to foods, is too simplistic, doesn’t have much impact, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies (some “red” foods have essential vitamins and minerals) and obsessive eating behaviors. Cara Rosenbloom writes about why telling people how long they will have to walk or run to work off the calories from, say, a chocolate bar, is too simplistic, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and can encourage obsessive behavior.


Simplistic already means “oversimplified.” Good writing has no such thing as “properly oversimplified” to be able to have too much of it. Use the word by itself!


Tips to choose the best mortgage company

When you are buying a home, you will be in a long haul. Hence, it is very important to shop the mortgage very carefully. You will have to pay your mortgage in 15, 20 or 30 years. So, it is very important to shop for the right mortgage lender. There are many reliable mortgage companies in OKC but you need to do a proper research and choose the best among them. To choose the best, you have to follow some of the essential tips. Here are those tips for you:

Tip 1: Credit score

Before you start looking for a perfect mortgage company for you, you have to make sure that the credit score is ideal. When you have a good credit score, you can enjoy better facilities. More and more mortgage company options will be there for you. If the credit score is bad or below 600, then the chances are high that most of the mortgage companies will reject your mortgage application. It will be really hard to find a good company then.

Tip 2: Know the company’s details

When you are looking for one of the best mortgage companies, you have to research on all the reliable companies in OKC. Knowing the mortgage of the mortgage company’s landscape and working pattern will help you to know more for sure. The best thing about this is that you will be able to know about the history and details of the company. This will help you to choose the right mortgage company in Oklahoma City.

Tip 3: Check the feedbacks

When a person takes mortgage from one of the mortgage companies, they will definitely give feedback on the same. You can read these reviews and feedbacks to know more in details about their work pattern and reliability. This gives a better and vivid idea. The most interesting fact is that these reviews will also tell you about the process of applying. So, you will be able to know whether or not it will be easier to apply for the mortgage or not.

Tip 4: Compare the rates from different mortgage companies

When you are looking for the best mortgage company, you have to compare the rates properly. It is very important to do as this will help you to find the best deal. Already from the above 3 tips, you will get your shortlisted companies. Now, you have to ask them for the quotes. This will help you to know about the rates and you can compare those rates from the different mortgage companies to find the best rate.


When you are searching for the best and most efficient mortgage companies, do not forget to ask questions. Right questions can help you to get a clearer idea about the company and its policy. Since it is a topic of long-run and you have to deal with that company for a long term, you need to make sure that you choose the best Oklahoma City credit union company. For this, all these above tips are really beneficial and helpful for you. Make sure to follow them when looking for one.

Contact US:

Focus Federal Credit Union
Address:420 NE 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK
Phone: (405) 230-1328

If a Viking Can Get It Right…

We should be able to get it right too! Bottom row:

  • There—refers to something, including the rest of a sentence
  • Their—belongs to something or someone
  • They’re—contraction of “they are.”

Though personally, I don’t think the King of England would get it wrong…

Pronunciation Matters

Some kinds of homonyms are spelled the (about) same but pronounced differently. When the pronunciation is the difference, it’s important.


We match the Italian pronunciation fairly closely, but not the French. The French pronunciation is something like “wah-la,” accent on the second syllable. It’s more fun if you go find someone who’s French and ask them to pronounce it for you. The spellings “voila” and “viola” are part of the humor, by the way.

A Quotational Nit Pick

When you quote someone, make sure you get the quote right. Adding to or subtracting from the original is a no-no. Look at the last panel:


The Scout motto is just “Be prepared.” (Someone once asked Baden-Powell “Be prepared for what?” and he answered, “Any old thing.”)

Perhaps we have the excuse that he called it “my scout motto,” but I still say he should have gotten it right. Harrumpf.

Reminder About the Dieresis

Since I ran into someone doing it correctly, I thought I’d remind you about the dieresis, those two dots that look like an umlaut above a letter in English.


Only a few words retain the dieresis now, but naïve is one of them. It means you pronounce the two vowels separately, not together. “Naïve” is really a two-syllable word!

To get those dots over a letter i, hold down the Alt key while you type 139 on the numeric keypad.

Another Antecedent Problem

Here Dagwood offers his boss two antecedents to reply to. He spells them out in the second panel:


(Short versions: “promise,” or “get mad.”)

I see this pop up occasionally in conversations. And it’s not infrequently a source of conversational humor.

But when you write expositorily, try to avoid this ambiguity!

Bert or Kurt?

I always thought this kind of self-contradictory statement was a consequence of Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (qv), but here I see it attributed to Bertrand Russell.


This is philosophically (or mathematically) equivalent to the statement “This sentence is false.” Gödel definitely warned that things that refer to themselves can get you into trouble.