All posts by scrivener

Friday Quiz on a Thursday: City Mill

Today’s post is a soft relaunch of DWT. The hiatus was for a lot of reasons, but I’m back.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

How many seconds into this commercial from City Mill (Hawaii) does it take for the voiceover to make a horrible grammatical error? Watch the video; then hit “read more” to see if your answer matches mine!

Continue reading Friday Quiz on a Thursday: City Mill

Weekend Photo: No Chihuahuas or Bichons!

This week’s Not a Good Sign comes from the always sharp-eyed Crissy, who was in the habit of snapping these photos long before this little blog was ever conceived. She spotted it at the Market City Pet’s Discount (yes, that punctuation annoys me too, but there’s a chance it’s accurate, so I’m leaving it alone) in Honolulu.

huge puppy sale

Thanks, Crissy, and keep them coming! And may you all have a HUGE weekend!

A Little Speedbump

speedbumpHello. I had a little bit of an Internet connectivity problem, but thanks to @sophielynette, things seem to be okay now. I’ll return tomorrow with the Weekend Photo and answer readers’ comments and questions on Sunday, and then it will be back to the linguistic madness again on Monday. Thanks for hanging in with me!

This is Turning into an Hassle


I don’t know where this came from or why it seems to be proliferating, but please take a look at this Google News search for “an historic.” As I write this, this search returns 3,144 results for this exact phrase.

Meanwhile, people are also writing an heroic, an hearing, and even an humiliating.

I know this isn’t any of you, but if you know someone who’s doing this, beg him or her to stop!

The rule you learned whenever you learned it still applies. Use an in front of most words beginning with a vowel sound, such as honor, apple, and irritating. Use a in front of everything else. Here in the United States, we pronounce the /h/ sound in front of words like historic, humiliating, and heroic, so those words take a.

Now please do what you can to reverse the tide of this, an ‘orrible practice if e’er I ‘eard one!

Usage Tuesday: That Pad of Paper is Just Sitting There, Motionless

stationeryWhich one of these sentences is incorrect?

  1. She likes to ride her stationary bike for exercise every morning.
  2. I have a locked drawer in my desk where I like to keep my fancy stationary.

If you are talking about the condition of being immobile, you are talking about being stationary, the adjective. If you are talking about paper, note cards, and writing implements, you are talking about stationery, the noun. This means that sentence #2 is incorrect. Notice the difference in spelling, please. That difference is actually your key to remembering which is which.

A long time ago (and not too long ago if you’ve lived in Hilo, Hawaii), you’d get your letter-writing supplies at a STATIONER. Notice how that doesn’t work if you wanted to spell it STATIONAR. See? You’d get STATIONERY at the STATIONER.

Now that you know this, you will never have a problem keeping them straight!