- I must go to the store.
- He goes to the store every Sunday.
- We went to the store last Sunday.
- He has gone to the store every Sunday for the past few years.
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Go is an irregular verb, meaning that it doesn’t simply take on “-ed” when changing the verb tense to the past or participle (used in the present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses). Go is a verb that someone communicating in English will encounter regularly, so thought it wise to review this one with you.
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I’ve seen this error made only a handful of times, but thought it a good idea to address.
Anyway is an adverb that can also mean “in any case”, “in spite of reasons already mentioned”, “at any rate”, or “regardless”. Use these alternative phrases if trying to express yourself more formally.
I wasn’t sure the approach would work, but I asked my boss, anyway.
We’ve also seen this word being used in a rude manner. If someone is talking and someone else either cuts them off or waits for them to finish and then says “anyway” before changing the subject, it might be perceived as rude, especially depending on the tone used. It can also be used to continue an interrupted story.
Any way is an adjective-noun phrase that means “whichever path” or “In any manner”.
While I was teaching in Korea, I tried any way possible to get the students to enjoy learning and reading English.
A note about “anyways”. It means anyway, but it's definitely non-standard. It’s accepted in informal speech, but please refrain from using it in writing, unless want to sound informal. Personally, I would delete this word from your brain.
A very cruel expression that made its first appearance in print in the 1840s is “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. The variations of this expression are even more vile and graphic.
People use this expression to suggest there are several ways to do something or get something done.
It’s been quite the challenge to get support for something at work. The colleague I confided in replied that there is more than one way to skin a cat – let’s brainstorm some ideas. While taken aback at the horrendous use of this expression, their heart was in the right place to help me come up with other ways to achieve my goal.
I cannot confirm whether the following is true, but one comforting explanation for this phrase is that it’s not actually referencing skinning our cute little feline friends, but rather a phrase that originated in the American south region that pertains to the preparation of a catfish.
The question then becomes, “Who shortened it to cat?! WHO?!”
A friend of mine was kind enough to correct me when I mistakenly used the expression “case and point” when trying to present an example that supported an argument. Ironically, he succeeded in his argument by using the correct expression, which is "case in point".
So why do we say “case in point”?
It comes from the French expression a pointe. In English, it was “in point” in the mid-1600s, and then became “case in point” in the 1700s.
Case in point is a popular expression used more often in conversation than in writing. My example:
It is difficult to cover a song and have everyone love it as much as the original, but some people can do it successfully. Case in point: Hurt by Johnny Cash. (It was originally written and sung by Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails.
This will be short and sweet.
An asterisk is the term used in many languages for the symbol of the little star (*). It is often used to indicate that there is more information about something in another part of the text.
Not to be confused with…
Asterix, or in French, Astérix, who is the main character of the satirical, self-titled comic book series.
The official site: Asterix - Astérix - Le site officiel
Let’s talk about Canadian freedoms.
There are four fundamental freedoms outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Let’s dive in quickly to see if any of these freedoms have been taken away from Canadians.
Let’s talk about the occupations in Ottawa and across Canada.
Initially, these people were allowed to come to Ottawa because all Canadians have the freedom to protest in peaceful assembly. However, this is not peaceful; they have wreaked havoc and are most notably known for being bigots, racists, and if they had any real powers, tyrants. (Wanting to start their own non-elected government and open their own banks). Ok, there.
Clearly the method taken by the occupiers is that they will not leave until their demands are met. Their occupation has been violent, resulting in several criminal arrests.
Those who support this self-named “Freedom Convoy”: Take a look. Take a really good look.
Are these the kind of people you want to be associated with? The white supremacist organizers preyed on Truck Drivers to do the majority of their bidding. It’s not about the mandates on international border crossings for these folks as those who do not wish to get vaccinated have been re-routed to domestic routes.
Protest 101 tip – make sure you know who the organizers are, what the money being raised is supporting, and what the actual protest is about.
We all have our freedoms in Canada. Nothing has been taken away from us.
It’s likely you’re familiar with Roman numerals. The key numbers are as follows:
The basics: When a smaller number is in front of a larger one, it is subtracted from the larger number. When the smaller number is in front of the larger number, it is added.
Example: 9 = IX, 400 = CD, 2022 = MMXXII
There are some additional rules. For example, 99 is not usually represented as IC, but rather XCIX (90 + 9)
You are also very familiar with Hindu-Arabic numerals. They are the ten numerical digits recognized as modern numbers.
I don't think I need to explain how to use these.
So the question is, why are they called Hindu-Arabic numerals?
Western nations call them Arabic because Europe got the numerals from the Islamic world, which got them from the Hindus. To acknowledge both cultures, it’s best to refer to them as Hindu-Arabic.
Did you know that the Hindus also invented 0?
Share these cool facts with friends and family. I bet they’ll be surprised.
The World Health Organization (WHO) named the COVID-19 variants after Greek letters.
Why you ask?
Well, in addition to making it easier for the general public to pronounce and use in day-to-day discussions (as opposed to using scientific names, which convey important scientific information), one of the reasons was to prevent discrimination that comes with naming the variants after locations.
So now the question:
Why did the WHO skip over some of the alphabet in their naming of the variants?
The first letter that was skipped was Nu. It was too closely related to the previous variant (Mu), and it sounds like “new”, which could lead to confusion. The next letter is Xi, which also happens to be a very popular last name. The WHO felt that using this letter would violate the organization's guidelines in naming diseases, namely that they always seek to “avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups”.
So there you have it. While it’s not my favourite way to learn the Greek alphabet, the silver lining is that it has been educational.
Today we know Black Friday as the day following American Thanksgiving - a day where we tend to show gratitude and celebrate all the things we are thankful for.
The following day is Black Friday, a day that strikes a completely different tone. It is centered around greed and instant gratification as people actively search for discounted deals in shopping malls.
I am “guilty” of enjoying Black Friday as well, albeit I am Canadian, so it doesn’t fall immediately after Thanksgiving.
What I was curious about was how the term for the day originated. Thinking back to the Economic classes I took in school, black represents a profit and red a loss. I thought this is what it meant, but it’s actually the other way around.
The VERY FIRST time the term Black Friday was used was back in 1869, when there was a stock market crash in the United States. A similar event happened approximately 60 years later, called Black Tuesday, resulting in the beginning of the Great Depression.
In the 1950s, factory workers would decide to falsely call in sick after Thanksgiving, which in turn extended the holiday weekend. Of note: Thanksgiving always falls on Thursday in the United States. Black Friday was labelled by factory owners as a day of disaster and misfortune.
In the 60s, people started using the day to start their holiday shopping. The term caught on, and the rest is history.
The jack o’ lantern is a sign of Halloween, when people set out to carve images into hollowed-out pumpkins and light them up at night for the desired “haunting” effect.
But how did this tradition start?
Let’s go back to the origin of Halloween, which began in Ireland’s Celtic past.
Let’s go back to the Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack.
According to the story, a man once invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to the nickname he was given, Stingy Jack did not want to pay the tab. He cleverly convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so they could pay for their drinks. However, once the Devil complied, Stingy Jack kept the coin - next to a silver cross in his pocket so the Devil couldn’t transform back.
Stingy Jack finally decided to free the Devil under the condition that he not bother him for one year, and that should he die, that the Devil would not claim his soul.
The year passed and Jack was able to trick the Devil again, this time for ten years, and under the same conditions.
Alas, all things do come to an end. It was Stingy Jack’s time to meet his maker - he died.
God did not want such a despicable soul, so prevented him from entering Heaven.
The Devil had to keep his promise of not taking Stingy Jack’s soul, so prevented him from entering Hell.
Stingy Jack was left with a burning coal inside a turnip to light his wretched way, and has been roaming the Earth ever since.
Known first as Jack of the Lantern, he eventually became Jack O’ Lantern. People began carving scary faces into turnips and placing them near windows and doors to scare off Stingy Jack and any other wandering spirits.
When the Irish immigrated to the United States, they found that pumpkins made for easier carving and the perfect jack o’ lanterns.
When we want to express a reciprocal relationship between two or more things/people, we can use the words ‘each other’.
'Each other' is always spelled as two separate words. Always.
It can be confusing to some because when pronounced, the words are said in quick succession. In other words, it sounds like it should be one word. Have a listen.
How can we remember that 'each other' is always two words?
My trick is to remember the definition. It’s about describing a relationship between TWO or more things.
Hope this helps. Good luck! 😃
Irregular verbs are verbs in which the past tense is not formed by adding -ed at the end. In some cases, this only applies to the participle, which is used when we are using any of the perfect tenses (past, present, and future perfect).
There are about 200 irregular verbs. Unfortunately, there are no rules that can guide us any further - it’s a memory game.
Provided below is a short list of the most common irregular verbs I use.
I didn’t know the true meaning of M.O. up until earlier this week. I thought I had a good sense of it, as M.O. is used often in crime shows. I thought it was short for ‘motive’.
Nope. Not that.
It’s short for modus operandi, a Latin phrase, which translates to mode or style of operating.
While I was off the mark on its meaning, at least I had been using it correctly. And even while using it correctly, I did often wonder if my believed definition was correct, but I never took the time to check before.
So for the record, my M.O. during this pandemic and working from home has been to have a glass of wine after work. Not saying how big that glass of wine is. 😉
There, their, and they’re are homophones, meaning they are words that sound the same, but have different meanings and spellings.
This is the quick and dirty.
There - This is an adverb. We use this word to describe a destination, location, or place.
Example: The Montreal Canadiens are in the NHL playoff finals. I wish we could go there to see a game.
Their - This is a possessive pronoun. We use this word when we want to describe ownership or belonging.
Example: The coach for the Montreal Canadiens contracted COVID. Their interim coach for now is Luke Richardson.
They’re - This is the contracted form of 'they are'. We use this form when we speak and in casual writing.
Example: The Montreal Canadiens surprised everyone by getting to the NHL playoff finals. They’re definitely the underdogs.
Ready to test your knowledge? Try this short quiz.
‘Heavy heart” is an idiom that describes a feeling of sadness, often associated with grief. Sometimes it’s even used to express deep regret.
For the longest time, the heart has been tied to our emotions. And regardless of how this came to be, the heart is indeed the hardest working organ we’ve got, so let's take care of it.
Disciplined English grammar geek and former language consultant providing free assistance to all in