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When bright…

When bright, it’s dark.
When darkest, it’s gone.
When gone for good, so are you.
Where am I?

This is a riddle I found in the beginning of a book called Bright Shadow¬†by Avi. It’s about a girl who obtains 5 wishes, but she does not realize this until she begins to use them. But if she uses them all, she will vanish and she can tell no one of this.

I read it and found it enjoyable. They also made a new cover for it. ūüėÄ

Comment what you think the answer to the riddle is.

Would you please help me come up with a title?

Hands- light palms, dark back, large, strong;
Gripping and guarding the weapon.
Green blades surround them all;
When and where will he begin his assault?
He throws the weapon; his comrade reclaims it.

Touchdown.

8 food idioms that are right under your nose

8 food idioms that are right under your nose

1. Nutshell

The term¬†in a nutshell¬†refers to a short description, or a story told in no more words than can physically fit in the shell of a nut. But the origin of the term tests those limits with the most long winded of tales. The ancient Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder claimed that a copy of Homer’s¬†The Iliad¬†existed that was small enough to fit inside a walnut shell. Almost 2000 years later in the early 1700s the Bishop of Avranches tested Pliny’s theory by writing out the epic in tiny handwriting on a walnut-sized piece of paper and lo and behold, he did it!

2. Beans

English speakers have been using the word “spill” to mean “divulge secret information” since 1547, but the spilling of¬†beans¬†in particular may predate the term by millennia. Many historians claim that secret societies in ancient Greece voted by dropping black or white beans into a clay urn. To spill¬†those¬†beans would be to reveal the results of a secret vote before the ballots had been counted.¬†Kidney he lives, pinto he dies!

3. Pie

As many of us know from experience, it is not so easy to make a pie. A buttery crust can fall apart in the deftest of hands and around Thanksgiving many pumpkin “pies” might be more accurately deemed pumpkin “soups.” On the other hand (or for our purposes) anyone can become an expert at eating a pie. Popularized in the U.S. in the late 1800s, the most notable use of¬†pie¬†to mean “simple and pleasurable” appears in Mark Twain’s¬†The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Part of our next food idiom makes a home in many pies, especially in America.

4. Apples

Apples and oranges¬†refers to two incommensurable items, i.e. a comparison of things that cannot be compared. Though they are both fruits, apples and oranges are separated by color, taste, juiciness and 89.2 million years of evolution. The idiom first appeared as¬†apples and oysters¬†in John Ray’s 1670 Proverb collection, and equivalent terms exist in many languages: “grandmothers and toads” in Serbian to “love and the eye of an axe” in Argentine Spanish. What other funny fruits turn unusual phrases?

5. Bananas

Not only does¬†going bananas¬†mean “to go crazy,” the term can point to things¬†for whichyou’ve gone bananas, or obsessions. According to lexicographer E.J. Lighter,¬†going bananas¬†refers to the term¬†going ape¬†often used in American popular culture in the second half of the 1900s. Apes were seen as crazy by the mid-century media, and what do apes eat? Bananas! For example, here at Dictionary.com, we’re bananas for grammar but we go bananas when people end sentences with prepositions.

6. Tea

Though English is spoken all over the world, there are certain idioms that recall its, well, Englishness. Popularized in British Edwardian slang,¬†cup of tea¬†originally referred to something pleasant or agreeable. The negative usage as in¬†not my cup of tea¬†arose during World War II as a more polite way to say you didn’t like something. “You dont say someone gives you a pain in the neck,” explained Alister Cooke in his 1944 Letter from America. You just remark, he’s not my cup of tea.'”

7. Cheese

Perhaps the savoriest idiom on this list, the word¬†cheese¬†can refer to a person or thing that is important or splendid as well as to the delicious dairy product. The usage is thought to have origins in Urdu, from the Persian¬†chiz¬†meaning “thing.” In common usage, “the big cheese” is a person of importance or authority, and cheese is often associated with smiling, based on the “say cheese” method of posing for pictures.

8. Eggshells

Our final idiom is our most delicate:¬†walking on eggshells¬†or taking great care not to upset someone. It is thought to have originated in politics when diplomats were described as having the remarkable ability to tread so lightly around difficult situations, it was as though they were walking on eggshells. In a nutshell, we hope you go bananas for food idioms. Whether or not they’re your cup of tea, these terms are easy as pie to use and they’ll make you the big cheese of any conversation! So go ahead and spill the beans, it’s just like apples and oranges.

(I found this on dictionary.com.)

Anybody have anymore?

Names you’ve known all along: 9 famous eponyms

Names you’ve known all along: 9 famous¬†eponyms

1. Pompadour

Having a hairstyle named after you is one thing, but when people are still wearing it 200 years later, you must’ve made a splash. The¬†pompadour¬†is a hairstyle in which the front hair is wrapped over a pad or puffed up to heighten it. It was first worn by Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, the Marquise de¬†Pompadour, and mistress to King Louis XV of France. After Poisson popularized the style in the middle 1700s, it was adopted in the 1890s by the Gibson Girl craze, only to resurface in the 1950s with Elvis Presley’s famous poof.

2. Sandwich

This star of lunches worldwide, this delicious fare is the work of John Montagu, the Earl of¬†Sandwich, England. Montagu was apparently an avid gambler, and his favorite meal while at the card table was cold meat between two pieces of bread. This allowed him to play as long as he liked without having to leave for a full meal, and the bread prevented him from getting grease on the cards. Rumor has it that the other card players saw this and said, “I’ll have the same as¬†Sandwich!”

3. Mesmerize

An¬†eponym¬†is a word derived from a person’s name, but you have to do something pretty special for your name to become a verb. To¬†mesmerize¬†is “to hypnotize,” named for Franz Anton Mesmer, a German physician of the late 1700s. Mesmer was famous for his theory of animal magnetism or the flow of spiritual energy between physical beings. Animal magnetism was initially the centerpiece of¬†Mesmerism, Mesmer’s field of hypnosis, but in today’s vernacular a person can be “mesmerized” by a painting or a dog as easily as a hypnotic session.

4. Arnold Palmer

Named for the professional golfer and activist¬†Arnold Palmer, this iced drink combines sweet iced tea and lemonade. Though Palmer attests to making the drink at home for much of his life, it didn’t catch on until he ordered it at a restaurant in Palm Springs, California, in the late 1960s. Unlike the rest of our namesakes, Arnold Palmer is alive. So there’s still a chance that you may run into this golf legend in a fateful restaurant and ask yourself the question of lucky diners worldwide: “Is he going to order it?”

5. Gerrymander

To gerrymander is to divide a state or county into electoral districts so as to skew the concentration of votes and give one political party an advantage. This is an example of the other side of eponym coinage: doing something so infamous that your name becomes a verb. The term is named for Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts. In 1812 Gerry reshaped one of his voting districts in the shape of a salamander as a political scheme, so this eponym is also a portmanteau: Gerry + salamander = Gerrymander.

6. Silhouette

A traditional¬†silhouette¬†is an outline drawing, or a profile portrait cut from black paper. The word arose in the late 1700s when Etienne de Silhouette, a French minister of finance, imposed high taxes on the French upper classes during the Seven Years War. Because painted portraits were too pricey and photography hadn’t been invented yet, these profile cut outs were an inexpensive way to immortalize a face. At the time, Silhouette’s name was synonymous with anything made cheaply, but for these paper portraits the name stuck to this day.

7. Leotard

“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man on the flying trapeze.” If you’ve ever found yourself singing this catchy nineteenth century song, then you already know something about Jules Leotard. Leotard was a revolutionary French acrobat who developed the art of trapeze in the late 1800s. He often performed in a skin-tight one-piece body suit that now bears his name, the¬†leotard.

8. Diesel

If you’ve ever driven a truck or a European car then you owe a thank you to Rudolf Diesel. Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was a German mechanical engineer, active at the turn of the nineteenth century.¬†Diesel¬†was the father of the diesel engine and one of the earliest advocates for fuel efficiency. While typical gasoline engines have a fuel efficiency rate of 30 percent, diesel engines are over 45 percent efficient. In today’s vernacular “diesel” can refer to a type of engine or the gasoline that engine takes, and recently the word has been adopted into slang to mean “good” or “cool.”

9. Victorian

One of the many luxuries of being a queen is that everything that happens during your rule is named after you. Queen Victoria reigned over the United Kingdom from the time she was 18 in 1837 until her death in 1901. In that time the British Isles saw developments in architecture, literature, philosophy, technology and fashion: all of which were named for the queen in power. To this day you can read a Victorian novel (anything by Charles Dickens, George Eliot or the Bronte sisters) in your Victorian house, wearing a Victorian top hat, in Victoria, Australia.

(I found this on dictionary.com)

5 Fun Ways to Say “Boring”

5 Fun Ways to Say¬†‚ÄúBoring‚ÄĚ

1. Ennui
[ahn-wee]

Not all boredom is created equal: some of it is fleeting and circumstantial, and some of it teeters on existential crisis.¬†Ennui¬†tends toward the latter–or at least it used to. Derived from the French verb¬†enuier¬†meaning “to annoy,” its peak usage was in Victorian and Romantic literature to express a profound sense of weariness, even a spiritual emptiness or alienation from one’s surroundings and time. Nowadays it’s used at both ends of the boredom spectrum, but its deep literary history lends even the most shallow disinterest a grandiose air.

2. Bromidic
[broh-mid-ik]

Bromide is a chemical compound that was commonly used in sedatives in the 1800 and 1900s. It took on a figurative sense to mean a trite saying or verbal sedative, or a person who is platitudinous and boring, in the early 1900s with help of the U.S. humorist Frank Gelett Burgess, who published a book titled Are You a Bromide? in 1907. The next time a particularly bland work meeting lulls you into a near coma, remember to mentally log it as bromidic just before nodding off.

3. Prosaic
[proh-zey-ik]

If your personal brand of boredom stems from a deficit of literal or figurative poetry in your life, this is the word for you. Now commonly used to mean dull, matter-of-fact, or unimaginative,¬†prosaic¬†entered the lexicon as the adjectival form of the word prose–as innot poetry. Its evolution to mean uninspired and commonplace in a broader context feels in many ways like a love letter to the oft-neglected literary genre.

4. Insipid
[in-sip-id]

Much like¬†bland¬†and¬†flavorless,¬†insipid¬†is commonly used to describe food that leaves your taste buds wanting more, but it’s also used in an abstract sense to describe a person, place or thing that lacks distinction, depth or intrigue. Its versatility can be attributed to its root word, the Latin¬†sapidus, which translates to well-tasted, wise, or prudent. The next time you find yourself surrounded by droning company and uninspired cuisine (perhaps on your next flight?) liven things up with this handy twofer.

5. Platitudinous
[plat-i-tood-n-uhs, -tyood-]

Stemming from the French word for flat,¬†plat(think¬†plateau),¬†platitudinous¬†is used most frequently to refer to lackluster or trite use of language. A political speech brimming with tiresome rhetoric and cliches can be said to be platitudinous, but with this illuminating descriptor in your word arsenal, your bemoaning of the speech doesn’t have to be.

(I found this on dictionary.com)

Can anyone think of any more? If so, comment!

Double your fun with these irregular plurals!

Double your fun with these irregular plurals!

1. Spaghetti

Next time you dive into a hot plate of¬†spaghetti, take a moment to appreciate each individual¬†spaghetto. The word¬†spaghetti¬†is from the Italian¬†spago¬†meaning “thin rope, twine.” It’s amazing to think that this beloved, stringy pasta has been a plural all along. Early on in its time in English,¬†spaghetti¬†was spelled “sparghetti,” as in Eliza Acton’s pivotal 1845 cookbook¬†Modern Cookery, but by 1885 the plural pasta assumed its currently accepted form.

2. Passersby

When a person is seen passing by a scene either casually or by chance, they are considered a¬†passerby,¬†but on a busy street, one passerby is just a member of a crowd of¬†passersby. Instead of pluralizing the act of passing, as would the incorrect “passerbys,” this clever word pluralized the passer or passers themselves, indicating that multiple people might be getting a quick glimpse of the same thing.

3. Kine

If you think the plural of “cow” is “cows,” that’s right. However,¬†kine¬†is also an accepted alternate plural form, and it’s the only word in English whose plural shares no letters with the singular form! From the Old English¬†cy, plural of¬†cu¬†(Old English for “cow”), kine is actually a double double, because it adds the secondary plural element “n” to the previously doubled “y” or “i” sound.

4. News

News¬†comes from the Middle French¬†nouvelles, or from the Latin¬†nova¬†meaning “new things.” News was originally spelled¬†newis¬†or¬†newes, the plural form of the Middle English¬†newe. The now-standard spelling¬†news¬†was not firmly established until the mid-17th century. When news first entered English in the 1300s, it referred literally to “new things,” though this sense is now obsolete. During the 15th century news took on the sense of “tidings” or “an account of recent events.” The construction “the news” only entered English in the 20th century.

5. Scissors

This handy cutting instrument consists of two blades pivoted together, but by no means is one blade a singular scissor. From the Medieval Latin cisoria, scissors emerged in English as a plural without a singular, describing the cutting tool as a whole entity. The 19th century saw a short-lived slang use of scissors with the exclamation oh scissors!, which was used to express impatience or disgust.

6. Dice

As a noun,¬†dice¬†is the irregular plural form ofdie,¬†a small cube typically marked on each side with one to six spots and used in pairs for games of chance. From the Middle English¬†dees, an interchangeable singular and plural form, dice was reborn as a verb with¬†to dice¬†meaning to chop something into small die-sized cubes. Some evidence suggests that if you trace the etymology of dice all the way back to the Latin¬†dare¬†meaning “to give,” or in this case “to cast,” it shares root with our next term.

7. Data

When we download or research large amounts of¬†data, it’s far too easy to gloss over each unique¬†datum. A participle of the Latin verb¬†dare, “datum” is on direct loan from the Latin, meaning “a thing that is given.” Today the word represents individual facts, statistics, or items of information, but the plural form¬†data¬†has come to function as a singular mass noun meaning “information” in the general sense.

(I found this on dictionary.com.)

Alot vs. A lot: 9 Language Crimes to Watch Out For

Alot vs. A lot: 9 Language Crimes to Watch Out For

1. Irregardless

Irregardless is considered nonstandard because of the two negative elements, ir- and-less. Irregardless first appeared in the early 20th century and was perhaps popularized by its use in a comic radio program from the 1930s. Use regardless to keep your grammar-loving friends at bay.

2. Thusly

Because both thus and thusly are adverbs, language aficionados find thusly unnecessary. The Chicago Manual of Style discourages the use of thusly altogether. For copy editors, spotting the word thusly has a cringe-inducing effect similar to hearing fingernails on a chalkboard.

3. Everyday

Be careful when using¬†everyday. As one word it’s adjectival; spelled out as two words,¬†every day¬†is adverbial. If you remember to do your¬†everyday¬†chores¬†every day, your grammar-savvy roommates will appreciate you.

4. Anyways

While it’s commonly used in speech and writing,¬†anyways¬†is nonstandard. Always drop the “s” and opt for the standard¬†anyway¬†to impress the language fanatics in your social networks. In a world of 140-letter tweets, that one saved character is valuable real estate.

5. Literally

The Internet is¬†literally¬†full of critics of the figurative use of¬†literally. While employing this metaphorical usage might make many casual language lovers’ ears bleed, descriptivist lexicographers will hail you as a language innovator. Our advice: be self-aware. Know that if you use¬†literally¬†figuratively, it will sound horrible to some, and perfectly acceptable to others.

6. Alot

Alot¬†is a frequent misspelling of¬†a lot. As many middle school English teachers constantly remind their students, “A lot¬†is a lot of words.” So make your old English teacher proud.

7. Alright

As an informal variant of¬†all right,¬†alright¬†is perfectly acceptable. The popular song and album “The Kids Are Alright” by The Who is evidence of general acceptance of¬†alright. However, note that the creators of the 2010 film¬†The Kids are All Right¬†couldn’t bring themselves to use the informal variant even if the title was a clear nod to The Who.

8. Fewer

Confusion of the terms fewer and less will set off alarms in the heads of language enthusiasts. Fewer is only to be used when discussing countable things, while less is generally used for singular mass nouns. For example, you can have less salt, money, honesty, or love, but fewer ingredients, dollars, people, or puppies.

9. Hopefully

Self-described language buffs might explode with untamed rage if they hear¬†hopefully¬†used as a sentence modifier as in “Hopefully, it won’t rain tomorrow.” However, since the 1930s, this sense has been folded into acceptable usage. That said, it’s important to understand the extreme reaction you might provoke if you use this common sentence starter. If someone gives you guff, just refer them to Dictionary.com’s excellent usage note at¬†hopefully. Crisis averted.

(I found this on dictionary.com.)

Every Child Ready to Read

Every Child Ready to Read

Every Child Ready to Read Every Child Ready to Read Every Child Ready to Read Every Child Ready to Read

My Favorite Poem- “Cross” by Langston Hughes

My Favorite Poem:

“Cross” by Langston Hughes

My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

The reason as to why I love this poem so much is because I can relate to it. My parents are still alive and the race is swapped (my mom is white and my dad is black), but it really made me think about my situation.

It made me think of something that happened to me when I was younger.

My father use to take me to playgrounds all the time when I was a kid. One day, a white van pulled up to one of them and a mother and her two kids got out. Her kids and I went to go down the slide.

The mother asked my father if I was mixed and he said,

No, she’s black.

That astounded her. But while that was happening, one of her kids turned around and said to me,

Niggers aren’t allowed on the slide.

The woman rushed to her kids, looked at my father and apologized and he said,

Uh uh. You taught that little muthafucker that. Now I get to teach my daughter how to box.

What do you think about this? Comment your answer. I really want to know.

Rules of the Blog

Rules of the Blog

The English language is an interesting thing.
Sometimes, new words are added on a whim.
Definitions change; some words are just for show;
But that is what happens as a society grows.

But, here, I wish to explain,
What is bringing us all great pain.
Today, grammar is a scarce thing;
Because of this “texting” thing.

Abbreviations make us forget,
What teachers are trying to make our minds get.
And “like” is not a synonym for “said,”
Using it in that manner makes intelligence seem dead.

On this blog there will be poetry, stories, and reviews,
I hope they will teach you a thing or two.
But this is a place of learning and growth;
So I want you to take an oath.

I swear I will comment and critique with fairness;
I swear I will comment if I have questions.
I swear I will treat people with dignity and respect,
For, if I do not, the comment will be a reject.

Those are the rules, so simple and so few,
Hopefully, they will be enough for you.
Education is important as you shall see,
For strong and empowered you shall be.

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