Barbara Burke

Contronyms

October 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

I thought you all would enjoy this list I compiled from a few sources 😀. From posts on Pocket Worthy and Judith Herman on Mental Floss: Here’s an ambiguous sentence for you: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.” Does that mean, “Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a…

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Where is the Hair Dryer?

September 6, 2022 | 5 Comments

Not a “words” blog post, but a travel-related post. If any of you have traveled in 2022 (this year for me includes 2 of my regular annual trips plus 1 new trip PLUS 4 trips that were previously scheduled in 2020 and 2021 that were moved to 2022 – yowza!), you may have encountered ….

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Word Combinations

August 3, 2022 | 10 Comments

The word, “brunch,” is the result of combining two words into one – breakfast and lunch. These word combinations are called “portmanteau” words or “blended” words. I just like to say portmanteau, so I’m going with that one. Here are some more examples of portmanteau words, taken from “English Language and Usage” on Stack Exchange:…

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More About ACRONYMS

July 6, 2022 | 8 Comments

As promised from my June post, this month is more about acronyms (when the first letters of words are combined to become a new “expression”). I decline to call the result a ‘word,’ but that may be my old-fashioned-ness getting in the way 😏. My friend, Stewart, claims that the U.S. military uses more acronyms…

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E _ G (No, the answer isn’t “F”)

June 7, 2022 | 4 Comments

Have you noticed how many medical test acronyms start with E and end with G? I can never keep them straight, so I thought some of you might also have trouble knowing which middle letter goes with which test. These definitions are taken from the Internet, so if anyone sees a change that should be…

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Commonly Misused Or Mispronounced Words

May 3, 2022 | 10 Comments

Misused words or mispronunciation of words can lead to misunderstandings. Here are some examples I have collected through the years. Some are words I have heard spoken; some are words I have seen written; and, of course, some are from friends who know I like this kind of ‘stuff’ 😉. Commonly Misused Words “He is…

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Words Can Hurt

April 5, 2022 | 4 Comments

Do any of you remember when parents told their kids that “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”? I know they were just trying to make us feel better, although words can hurt. The recent Oscars ceremony just emphasized that issue. I didn’t see the event in real time,…

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Fill In or Fill Out?

March 1, 2022 | 6 Comments

My Adult Literacy League students ask the best questions! Here is one from my most recent ESL (English as a Second Language) student: “What is the difference between ‘fill in’ and ‘fill out’?” Of course, I gave her my usual response to these questions: “Umm . . .” I had to think about all of…

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Roses Are Red – and so are a lot of other things

February 1, 2022 | 2 Comments

February makes me think of red – red hearts, red flowers. I also realized that a lot of phrases use the word red. What is strange is that the phrases seem to either represent positive things OR negative things. I can’t think of another word that is used for such opposite meanings! What do you…

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Laughs for the New Year

January 4, 2022 | 8 Comments

Happy New Year, everyone. At least, I hope so! To get us started on a not-so-serious track, I am holding a contest for the funniest typo of 2021. We looked at several in October – based on the number of comments received, the winner from that post was the “Walking Closet” example. Several of you…

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