Double-Parking, Straddle, and To Seek Out

I find language fodder everywhere. This post was prompted by a Facebook video clip. Situation A woman is loading her groceries. The woman’s car is barely over the painted line on her left. A red car has parked as closely as possible to her driver’s side. The owner of the red car lurks in hiding … Read more

Words To Describe Disasters

The past few weeks have seen a surge of fevered rhetoric in the media. Here are a few examples: Senator Warns of a Republican Blood Bath Lawmakers gloomy, back on defense after debate fiasco Election Experts Warn of November Disaster [One Party] warns of chaos if [Other Party] wins Senators warn of ‘catastrophe’ if eviction … Read more

Five Linguistic Oddities in the Media

Here are five usages that caught my attention recently. aye and yea Both aye [pronounced “I”] and yea [pronounced “yay”] mean “yes.” Archaic in Standard American English, they still exist in some English dialects and are retained in the formal language of voting. The etymology of aye is uncertain, but yea was a form of … Read more

Uses of the -ing Participle

A reader has questions about the following type of sentence: “the education chief’s sudden resignation left him scrambling to find a replacement”. This construction – “left her struggling to/has seen him battling…” is common. I haven’t been able to classify the -ing form in such sentences. I ruled out gerund (“his scrambling” can’t be right), and I don’t … Read more