Saturday, March 7, 2020

Grammarama Ding-Dong

A week of words, words of a week.

Gravy Quatrain

grammar, poetry, self-promotion

March 4 (“March forth!”) was National Grammar Day, which means time for ACES: The Society for Editors' annual Twitter poetry contest! In the past, they’ve asked for haiku and for limericks, but this year it was quatrains. After all the entries were judged, the one that came out on top was…

MINE! And here’s my winning quatrain:

Learn about the semicolon;
'Tis a good thing to invest in.
It splits up independent clauses,
Not half your large intestine.

I was, to say the least, surprised and honored to have won. Read Mark Allen’s write-up of the whole contest, the runners-up, and one of the creepiest photos ever taken of me in “Copy Editor’s Command of the Semicolon Earns First Place.”

Cutting the [G/J]eez

British English, spelling

You’re writing a comic strip. In it, a tween tells himself that he’s going to take only one of the chocolates his mother forbade him from touching. In the next frame, he realizes that he’s eaten all of the chocolates. What appears in the speech bubble, JEEZ! or GEEZ!? Lynne Murphy of Separated by a Common Language shows how the answer might depend on where you live.

Eyeing Colors

colors, onomastics

Yeah, this image is cute and kind of funny, but there’s also an interesting exploration at Language: A Feminist Guide of how men and women look (or may look) differently at colors and their names to go with it.

Cock-Blocked by the USPTO

trademarks, onomastics

The Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cannot deny the registration of a trademark simply on the basis of being “scandalous.” But as Anne Gilson LaLonde at Strong Language reports in “Some Sweary Trademarks Still Off Limits,” the USPTO is still “relying on a shaky rationale to justify rejecting a variety of” trademarks that include some choice four-letter words. I'm sure some of your favorites are represented.