EppsNet Archive: Language

Fun Fact of the Day

If you try to send “Oh good” as an email reply but type “Oh god” by mistake, your spell checker will not flag that as an error. Read more →

Proofread Your Own Work

FYI, if you meant to type “invest in education” but actually typed “incest in education,” which you might do because the ‘c’ and ‘v’ keys are right next to each other, a spell checker will not catch that as a mistake . . . Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Before You Die

50 Books You Must Read Before You Die, 100 Things You Need to Eat Before You Die, 1000 Places You Must See Before You Die, etc., etc., et goddamn cetera. Why not simply say 50 Books You Must Read, 100 Things You Need to Eat or 1000 Places You Must See? We all understand that we won’t be reading, eating or seeing things AFTER we die. Why do you have to introduce death into the equation? Read more →

Always “Ass…”

Have you ever noticed in your inbox or browser tabs how the word “Association” always gets truncated to “Ass…”? Never “As…” or “Asso…,” always “Ass…” Read more →

If a Tree Falls in the Forest …

I encountered this on a web page . . . the header followed by a dark gray bar and nothing else. Is a questionnaire with no questions still a questionnaire? Read more →

Automatic for the People

There’s a bag of apples in the kitchen at work, still in the original packaging, which reads “Automatic, Crisp, Juicy.” What is an “automatic” apple? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Hold on a sec . . . on further review, the packaging says “Aromatic” not “Automatic.” Neither one makes a lot of sense. I took one out and found that if I inhaled deeply enough, it smelled a little bit apple-y. Read more →

How to Tell if Your Food Server is a Robot

I’ve been reading some articles recently about increased use of robots in the food service industry. I think we had a robot server the other day at the Jack in the Box drive-thru. My boy ordered a medium Mountain Dew with his meal and I ordered a large Coke Zero with mine. “Which one is the Mountain Dew” I asked the woman (robot) at the window as she handed us the drinks. “The medium one,” she said. Only a robot would answer the question that way. A human would say “The yellow one.” Because it’s a dopey question and a human recognizes why it’s a dopey question and answers accordingly. The robot only knows that the medium drink is the Mountain Dew and the large drink is the Coke Zero. Read more →

HIS and HER

I work at an educational non-profit. Whenever I type the abbreviation HSI (High School Intervention), Microsoft Word automatically “corrects” it to HIS. When I worked at a healthcare organization and typed EHR (Electronic Healthcare Record), Word helpfully “corrected” it to HER. There’s a nice symmetry to that: HIS and HER. Read more →

The 12th Man

The home crowd of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is known as The 12th Man. Isn’t this awfully sexist? Doesn’t it marginalize female Seahawk fans? Wouldn’t The 12th Person be a more appropriate appellation? I’m surprised there isn’t more outrage over this. It seems like the kind of thing that someone should be really bent out of shape about. Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

How big was it? The go-to question for lazy sports media goofballs everywhere. How big was that game? How big was that performance? How big was that play? In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “big” doesn’t make sense in this context. How big was it? It was bigger than a breadbox. It was bigger than my dick. “Let me ask you about the most important play of the game. How important was it?” That’s just stupid. But it’s acceptable if you phrase it like this: “How big was the interception by Kozlowski?” Use of the word “big” is the agreed-upon protocol for asking stupid questions repeatedly. “Tell us something we already know about something we just saw” is okay if phrased as “How big was that performance tonight by Smithers?” Or “How big was this win?” If all you can do is ask stupid questions, at least phrase them… Read more →

Minimizing Retention

From an actual job description for a Software Development Manager: Worth with management and directs to put together a solid SW Development career development plan in alignment with Organization Solutions all-up to grow hi-potential employees and minimize retention. If you’re writing job descriptions and learning English at the same time, there’s no shame in having a native speaker review your work. The job description goes on like that for 10 or 12 more bullet points. I singled that one out because I like the phrase “minimize retention.” I can recommend a couple of people for that. I assume it’s a language problem in this case — that the author meant to say “maximize retention” or “minimize turnover” — but it might be a kick to have a job where your actual charter is to minimize retention. You would not be an easy person to work for. You would take all… Read more →

Word of the Day

so·te·ri·ol·o·gy \suh-teer-ee-ol–uh-jee\, noun: spiritual salvation, esp. by divine agency. the branch of theology dealing with this. Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Recruiters who write job descriptions with requirements like this: Great Communication – must be able to speak very clear Read more →

Screw Economics

One of the classes I’m taking on Coursera is Principles of Economics for Scientists, taught by Prof. Antonio Rangel at Cal Tech. First of all, it’s a great class. Rangel has a real passion for the material and he’s provided extra resources to accomodate online students, many of whom probably don’t have the math background of the average Cal Tech student. He’s from Madrid, so his pronunciations and mannerisms are different, like the gesture below, which I captured from one of the video lectures. He was explaining how something or other would increase our understanding of economics and he punctuated the word “understanding” by pointing at his head with two fingers. I don’t know what this gesture means in Spain, or if it means anything at all. Probably he knows what it means in America, but as I said, he’s passionate about the material and I think he loses himself… Read more →

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