Two New "Expresses" I Hate

From reality television, the apex of evil: a teach

EXAMPLE: “We went on a teach this morning with Benny Ninja.”

From blogs everywhere:  gifted me with

EXAMPLE: “My mom gifted me with a front porch hammock.”

I’m sorry, but that is not how those words work at all.  I believe you are looking for the words lesson and gave.

Word Lists

Favorites in Sound and Meaning:


Least Favorites, Because Apparently I Hate the Letter U:


Words my Students Need to Look Up:


Typos I Cannot Stop Making:

sotry for story
explainging for explaining

And as a Related Bonus, my Least-Favorite Currently Overused Phrase, Because Please Stop Trying so Hard:

an historic

What are your words?

Don't Believe Me? Look it Up.

deep seated vs deep seeded – The first one is correct. A feeling or attitude is seated deep within you. No gardening is involved.

faze vs phase – Two completely different words! I know, right? Don’t let it faze you.

cache vs cachet – Having a hidden cache [sounds like cash] of cash might give you a little cachet [sounds like cash-ay].

stage left vs house/camera leftStage left is left from the point of view of the stage, house or camera left is left from the point of view of the house or camera. I haven’t heard ANYONE use these correctly in AT LEAST the last year, no exaggeration.

prodigal – The prodigal son wasn’t prodigal because he came back. His behavior before he returned was prodigal. It has nothing to do with returning.

this is actual: the things they wrote

I have been holed up in my office for the past week and a half, coffee and red pen in hand, grading approximately 120 student essays. They were completely brilliant, as you can imagine. Because I care about you, readers, and because caring means sharing, I share just a smidge of their brilliance with you:

Almost every one of their words has meaning and almost every line inhales a visual descriptor.

[Poet] was most notably known for his poem “Ode to a [Thing],” which introduced his new informal poetic language and bizarre form by using numerical numbers in between stanzas. [The stanzas were numbered, is all. How bizarre. — AV]

In the fifth stanza, [Poet] concludes what he learns from the urn in his attempts to identify with its never changing, discretionary form.

[Lady Poet] starts the stanza with a, this is it, it’s now or never feel.

Not once in [Poets] writings does he speak of a higher power or of God. I believe that because of [Poets] lack of spirituality this is the reason he has the negative and accepting of unhappiness attitude. [“Not once,” the student writes, of course, after having read the complete works of the poet in question cover to cover. — AV]

I almost want to say he uses personification but I feel his techniques in describing the soul are just talent and much deeper then a word.

The line that uses the “:-” paints a brighter picture. [Oh no she didn’t. Please do not tell me this girl thinks the poet is using an emoticon! — AV]

He uses words like these to create the feeling of what he feels.

This poem as I have described is really about death and other depressing ideas and is therefore not a romanticism poem at all.

Dear Dog, teaching is so fucking rewarding! Send help.

"neologism": not a neologism

You know what I hate? Fake neologisms. You know, when someone uses a word they haven’t used before, and they think they have made it up, so to preempt any comments, they say something like “yes, I know that isn’t a word”? Only it really is a word and they are too ignorant to know that and/or to arrogant to look it up in the dictionary? That thing? I hate that.

not just bad grammar, but racism, too!

If you thought “would of gave” was bad, then sweet fancy Moses, you should have seen the assignments my writing students turned in last week. There was a near complete failure to understand the directions — many of them attempted to write about descriptive language without quoting any examples from the text, because apparently writing “he uses a lot of language that is descriptive, which helps to describe things” will suffice. Why bother citing the particulars, right? I’m sure your readers will take your word for it.

Worse than that, they made no attempt to disguise their prejudice against the particular ethnic group being discussed. They were all “these people” and “these neighborhoods,” talking out of their asses and eventually implying that anyone from outside the suburbs is engaged in “criminal activity” and “illegal situations.” Lord, how I dreaded going over the papers with them the next day. I think my response to the whole thing started somewhere around “Be careful of the cultural assumptions you are making” and warmed up to “This is something I take very seriously,” finishing with a resounding “You just…can’t say that.? It’s not cool.” The whole thing was horrible and awkward, and I am not entirely sure I handled it right. Damned chowderheads.

In other news, I spent Labor Day weekend buying new furniture at Ikea and then putting it together, and now my house has a bedroom and a coffee table. It is like living in the lap of luxury, I tell you what.

In still other news, it seems like I am only getting my comment-notification emails about half the time. Since I don’t always check this site itself, I have been missing some comments. Poo. Click that “Submit” button with extra enthusiasm, then. Submit!

this is actual!

“I don’t think many people would of gave him the chance,” writes one of my freshmen in his first short paper, simultaneously reassuring me that the whippersnappers here are just as brilliant as they are in Zembla and making me want to bash my own head in with a rock.

uh ah oo ay?

I think I have finally pinned down the reason I can’t quite understand a significant segment of the population here in New Wye: no one pronounces consonants. It’s as if they extract only the vowels from their words, ending up with a chain of mumbley sounds, and it takes me a few seconds to reverse-engineer what they have said, during which time I stand there looking blank and glassy and squinting ever harder at their mouths until I finally give up and, for the millionth time, ask apologetically, “Pardon?”

It should be noted as well that I am from the South. I have a damned southern accent myself; I just don’t know what kind of hooey they are talking here, boy ah tell you what.