Category Archives: Language

Finally a Store that knows its Grammar

How many times have I wondered if there are any stores that don’t say “xx items or less”


Bull or Elephant

Here’s another language difference: In Germany there is the proverbial “Elephant in the China Shop”, in the US you have the “Bull in the China Shop”.

Something else interesting: While the above quoted Bull is clearly bad, a “Bull-Market” is a good thing. I am not aware of the corresponding German term…

Do Good or Bad Things Come in Threes?

It’s an interesting language phenomenon that I observed between the German and English language. The first time I heard someone say in the US that bad things come in Threes I was surprised and appalled, given that in my home country, Germany, we say the opposite. Continue reading

“The Sound Makes the Music”

Huh? This is an attempt to translate a German expression: “Der Ton macht die Musik”, meaning that it not only matters what you say, but how you say it. This NPR piece is just about that, namely, how language in Washington has changed recently to make uncomfortable topics sound more pleasing and less confrontational.

A Great Language Related Episode on CPTV’s ‘Where we live’

Especially the last part about fill words such as ‘um’ and other linguistic slips is interesting and fun. Listen to it here.

What’s the difference between a “disc” and a “disk”?

Apple has the answer: Knowledge base article HT2300.

Anlaiyss of Txet Jnmlubig and Litebigily

As the title of this post — Analysis of Text Jumbling and Legibility — demonstrates, jumbled text is not always as legible as is the widespread (mis)belief spurred by frequent mass mailings with texts like this: Continue reading

What about “Analog” Music Downloads?

When you read articles or listen to podcasts about digital music in general or iTunes and DRM in particular, you will notice that nearly everybody talks about “digital downloads”. People never talk about just downloads, as if it was special that they are digital.

Now, when you talk about music, then the qualifier digital makes a little bit more sense since it could be analog, but even that is not true unless you listen to records or tapes. But with regard to the computer, everything is digital, the documents, the pictures, the music, and the movies, so in an effort to keep things simple, and to make them not sound more important/or more complicated then they are, lets just call it download because there is no such thing as an analog download.

A Linguistic Treasure Chest

A coworker just pointed out this site to me: Common Errors in English. A treasure chest for someone obsessed with proper use of language.

Also very interesting is this list of non-errors!


“This appointment occurs in the past.”

Notice something funny with this sentence? Correct. At a first glance it does not make much sense. It probably should read:

This appointment occurred in the past.

Well, unfortunately the case is not quite as straightforward. Continue reading