Another Mondegreen

A mondegreen is when you misinterpret the words to a song. I’m not much on pop culture, so I’ve never heard of Chris Isaak, but you should still get the joke.

https://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2020/06/09

So do you have a favorite mondegreen? Put it in the comments. BTW, look up “mondegreen” in the search box for some other posts on this subject, including the reason we call it a mondegreen.

When to use an apostrophe to make a plural

Part of good writing is to be unambiguous. Sometimes you need an apostrophe to make a plural sound right. See the last word in this comic:

https://www.gocomics.com/petunia-and-dre/2022/03/17

The apostrophe makes you pronounce it “prose” which is plural of “pro.” Without the apostrophe, it’s “pros,” which you might be inclined to pronounce “pross.”

This doesn’t happen very often. When I run into another example, I’ll post it.

A Correct “All Right”

I think one reason I’m slowing down on this site is that I find that I’m doing a lot of repeats. Of course I’m probably the only person on the planet who has read every single post, but still…

Well here’s one that doesn’t happen very often. I see the incorrect word “alright” so often and in such professional contexts, that I think we have an example of linguistic change here. I still don’t like it. “Already” is okay, though.

The correct form is two words: “all right.” Mom gets it correct here:

Sally Forth comic strip for Wednesday, March 16, 2022 by Francesco Marciuliano; drawn by Jim Keefe
https://comicskingdom.com/sally-forth/2022-03-16

I mentioned a while back that if you want one word, use “arright.”

I’m Back!

A couple months back my back began to hurt and encouraged me to sort of retire from adding posts to this site. Well, my back is feeling better, tomorrow is Pi Day (one of my favorites), and I ran into a comic that was too linguistic-ey to resist. Here’s the comic:

https://www.gocomics.com/foxtrot/2022/03/13

I have to comment:

When you refer to our planet you capitalize the name depending on the context.

  • In an ordinary sentence, with “the,” don’t capitalize the earth.
  • When you have to leave off the “the,” capitalize the planet’s name. In a list, for example. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are rocky planets.
  • And when you’re referring to the stuff you can hold in your hand, it’s “earth” unless it’s the first word in the sentence.

Happy Pi Day!

A Plural I Never Thought About

The word “cochlea” is like the word “fish.” Singular and plural are the same. Here’s the text that made me think of this. It’s from Scientific American December 2022, page 46.

The primary structure of hearing in the skull is called a cochlea. Both of your cochlea would fit on the face of a dime with room to spare. If your cochlea were the same relative size as a bat’s, each would be about the size of a golf ball.

So there you have it!

Here are two pictures. I googled them. You’ve probably seen something like these:

Raise, Don’t Beg

I have several times criticized misuse of the expression “beg the question” (look it up), so I like it when someone gets it right:

But this raises the question: why do EV cars need different tires, if conventional tires have already evolved to virtual perfection? The answer lies in weight difference. EVs are heavier than conventional cars, and the greater the weight, the more rapidly tires wear down. 

https://interestingengineering.com/goodyear-just-followed-michelin-in-launching-new-specialized-ev-tires

(I quoted the two sentences after it in case you were curious about the answer to the question itself.)

Remember: “begging the question” is making the fallacy of offering what you want to prove as evidence for its proof.

Okay, I like pictures. Here’s one from the article:

Goodyear Just Followed Michelin in Launching New Specialized EV Tires