Sometimes, Sometime, and Some Time by Arlene Miller, Grammar Diva!

Sometimes, sometime, and some time may look very similar, but each has a different meaning. You probably haven’t thought about it much (or at all), and you have likely used them correctly, but they can cause confusion. 

Sometimes indicates a certain frequency with which something happens. It really means some of the time. For example:

Sometimes we go to the movies on Saturdays. (Some of the time we go to the movies on Saturday, and other times we don’t.)

Sometime, without the s, is different. It means at some certain point in time. For example:

Please come visit me sometime after I move .

I will be moving out of state sometime in September.

Some time is obviously two separate words and different from the other two. You pause between the two words when you correctly use some time. Some time means exactly that — a certain amount of time. For example:

Do you have some time to help me with my move?

I will have some time next week to meet with you.

To sum up:

Sometimes indicates frequency.

Sometime indicates a certain point in time.

Some time indicates an amount of time.

Sometimes I think that I might have some time to have fun sometime in the future when I don’t have a blog post to write!

(But, of course, I love writing these blog posts, so that was just an example!)

Thanksgiving Chuckles by Arlene Miller, Grammar Diva

Thanksgiving Chuckles

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 BY ARLENE MILLER

Best of the Grammar Diva

I thought you might like a chuckle or two before Thanksgiving. I didn’t write these, and some may not be politically correct.  Just saying . . . and we will get back to commas next week!

Some Thanksgiving thoughts . . .

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.  Jon Stewart

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie. Jim Davis

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. Johnny Carson

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Mark Twain

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.  Erma Bombeck

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. Irv Kupcine

I love Thanksgiving turkey . . . it’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The thing I’m most thankful for right now is elastic waistbands.Unknown Author

Most turkeys taste better the day after; my mother’s tasted better the day before. Rita Rudner

 

Here I am 5 o’clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.  Roseanne Barr

Cooking Tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminium foil and throw them out.  Nicole Hollander

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.  Erma Bombeck

 

Some one-liners . . .

Why can’t you take a turkey to church? They use FOWL language.

Why was the Thanksgiving soup so expensive? It had 24 carrots.

What happened when the turkey got into a fight? He got the stuffing knocked out of him!

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo? A turkey that can pluck itself!

Who doesn’t eat on Thanksgiving? A turkey because it is always stuffed.

Dear Turkeys, don’t worry… they only love us for our breasts too. Sincerely, women.

 If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for? Their AGE.

Why do pilgrims pants keep falling down? Because their belt buckles are on their hats!

Why did they let the turkey join the band? Because he had the drumsticks.

 What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children? “If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy!”

What did the turkeys sing on Thanksgiving Day? God save the kin.

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers? The outside.

Why did the turkey cross the road? It was the chicken’s day off!

What do you call a pilgrims vocabulary? Pilgrammar. (UGH!)

How do Rednecks celebrate Thanksgiving? Pump kin!(double UGH!)

 What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.

And more chuckles . . .

My husband doesn’t think housework is a full-time job. So for Thanksgiving I served him a raw turkey because revenge is a dish best served cold.

 If you didn’t want to sit at the kids’ table then you shouldn’t have seen the new Twilight movie.

I never understood why the Lions and Cowboys always get to play on Thanksgiving. Shouldn’t the Patriots play the Redskins, and then steal their stadium. (Ouch! I didn’t write these.)

 If I was a turkey, I’d be doing everything I could to taste terrible right now.

On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment . . . halftime. My aunt is bringing her homemade cranberry sauce to our Thanksgiving dinner, and my uncle is bringing his blatant racism!

Want to really freak someone out? Add 2 extra turkey legs to the turkey when it’s in the oven.

For the first time, we are going to have a HAPPY Thanksgiving. This year, I am stuffing the turkey with Prozac!

There is no sincerer love than the love of food. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Thanks to the following websites:

Jokes 4 Us.com

Quotations.about.com

Thanksgivingsayings.net

Happy Thanksgiving from The Grammar Diva to you and yours.

 

Trick or Treat? The Origin of Halloween Words by the Grammar Diva, Arlene Miller

Happy Halloween! Here are some of the stories behind the words of Halloween!

Trick or Treating

The practice of trick or treating began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.

The Catholic Church turned the demon dress-up party into “All Hallows Eve,” “All Soul’s Day,” and “All Saints Day” and had people dress up as saints, angels, and even demons. 

 Beginning in the Middle Ages children (and sometimes poor adults) would dress up in costumes and go around door to door begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers. This was called “souling.”

But trick or treating did not migrate along with Europeans to the United States. It didn’t re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. Then, it paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations.

The term “trick or treat” dates back to 1927.  

The British apparently hate Halloween. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. 

Halloween

Halloween also known as AllhalloweenAll Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead.

It is believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals and that such festivals may have had pagan roots. Some believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals.

 In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this day, including apples and potato pancakes. 

The word “Hallowe’en” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.” It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day).

 

Jack-O-Lantern

The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets.

People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

 

Pumpkin

 

The large round fruit of the creeping cucurbitaceous plants of the genus Cucurbit. They have a thick orange rind, pulpy flesh, and numerous seeds.  The word is from the Middle French pompon,  Latin peponem (melon), from the Greek pepon (melon), meaning “cooked” (by the sun) or “ripe.” 

 

In American English, the word is also colloquial for a person with hair cut short all around., recorded from 1781.

Witch

In mythology and fiction, a woman believed to practice magic or sorcery, especially black magic. From Old English wicca.

 

In a c.1250 translation of “Exodus,” witches is used to describe the Egyptian midwives who save the newborn sons of the Hebrews. 

 

 Witch doctor is from 1718

Goblin

 

In folklore a small grotesque supernatural creature, regarded as malevolent towards human beings.

From the early 14th century, “a devil, incubus, fairy”; from Old French gobelin. 

 Thank you to the following websites:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-history-of-trick-or-treating-is-weirder-than-you-thought-79408373/

http://www.dictionary.com/

https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com

https://enwikipedia.org

https://history.com

 

How to Capitalize Titles by Arlene Miller, the Grammar Diva

How to Capitalize Titles

OCTOBER 19, 2017 BY ARLENE MILLER

4 COMMENTS

Capitalizing titles can be a little confusing because there are actually many ways to do it, depending on what style you are following. By “titles,” we mean book titles, movie titles, book chapter titles, chapter headings, newspaper headlines, and other such things. Unless you need to follow a specific style, you can do it any way you choose, but — as in all things grammarish — be consistent within the same book or piece of writing. 

Most Common Way

  1. Here is the most common way of capitalizing titles — and the one you probably learned in school. It is still a safe bet. 
  • Capitalize the first and last words of a heading or title no matter what they are.
  • Do not capitalize a, an, and the.
  • Do not capitalize the conjunctions and, but, for, nor, or, so, or yet. (If so or yet is being used as an adverb, capitalize it.)
  • Do not capitalize prepositions such as up, down, in, out, across, between, with, by, along, and the other zillion.
  • Capitalize everything else, which includes nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and interjections. Prepositions used as adverbs are capitalized.

Here are some examples of that style:

  • The Red Fox and the Brown Bear Are Here
  • The Little Dog Is So Tired, so He Will Take a Nap (first so is an adverb)
  • The Cat Looked Up As the Dog Raced down the Stairs (first up is an adverb)

Common and Very Similar to the First Way

A very similar style, and the one I learned, is that any word more than four letters long is capitalized, even if it is a preposition. That would mean words like Between, Across, Along, and Under would be capitalized. This is the way I always do it.

And Also Very Similar to the First Way

It is the Chicago Manual of Style method and is exactly like the first way except Yet and So would be capitalized, probably because sometimes they are adverbs and sometimes they are conjunctions, and the “powers that be” probably thought people would get confused, so they decided to capitalize them either way.

Confused yet?  I think you will be safe if you follow this. To sum it up:

  • Capitalize the first and last words of any title or heading.
  • Capitalize all the nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
  • Don’t capitalize a, an, or the unless it is the first or last word of the title.
  • Don’t capitalize the conjunctions and, or, nor, for, yet, so, but.
  • Don’t capitalize prepositions unless they are longer than four letters. Then you decide.

If you aren’t real up to snuff on which parts of speech are which, capitalize all the important words and all the words longer than four letters.

HINT!!!!! PLEASE remember that the the following words are verbs and are capitalized in titles: Is, Am,  Are, Was, Were, Have Been, Be, Will Be, Has Been.

Other Styles

Other styles that are easier have come into use. They are not as commonly accepted, so I might stick with the above suggestions for something formal. But here are some other title styles:

  • Sentence Style: Used by the Associated Press and some newspapers and online newspapers. Just like in a sentence, you capitalize the first word and any other words that would ordinarily be capitalized, in other words, proper nouns and proper adjectives.
  • Every Word: Some online publications simply capitalize the first letter of every word in the title.
  • If you have a short title, and not many titles on a page, you could try capitalizing every letter in the title, especially perhaps on a website.
  • Or, taking a little different route than the previous one, you could capitalize nothing at all in the title. If you have all the say and this is your creation, be my guest. 

ABOVE ALL, BE CONSISTENT!

 

Word-Storm Ahead by The Grammar Diva: Arlene Miler

Word-Storm Ahead

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 BY ARLENE MILLER

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (and we hope Jose dwindles down to nothing).  I have put some links to places where you can donate at the end of this post.

Categories of Storms: What Do They Mean

We all hear about the different categories of tropical storms and hurricanes. What do they mean?

They are measured by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale also estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. 

CATEGORY

SUSTAINED WINDS

TYPES OF DAMAGE DUE TO HURRICANE WINDS

1

74-95 mph

64-82 kt

119-153 km/h

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

2

96-110 mph

83-95 kt

154-177 km/h

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

3

(major)

111-129 mph

96-112 kt

178-208 km/h

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

4

(major)

130-156 mph

113-136 kt

209-251 km/h

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

5

(major)

157 mph or higher

137 kt or higher

252 km/h or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Different Types of Wind and Water Storms

The following are some of the most common types of damaging storms in the United States: 

Hail Storms

Hailstorms do the greatest amount of damage to the exterior of your home or property:  roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage, and automobile damage. 

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms can produce lightning, hail, tornadoes, flooding, and more. 

Ice Storms

Ice storms produce freezing rain that coats everything in its path with a layer of glaze ice. Generally speaking, if a storm causes accumulation of more than a quarter inch on exposed surfaces, the storm can be classified as an ice storm. This type of accumulation can cause broken tree branches, power outages, and other hazardous conditions.

Tornadoes

For many areas around the United States, damage from severe tornadoes presents a very real threat. Most tornado damage is done by high winds with recorded speeds exceeding 300 MPH and the flying debris propelled by these fierce winds. The most damage from tornadoes happens in “tornado alley” — a part of the United States that includes Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri.

Lightning

You may be surprised to learn that lightning is a major cause of storm damage in many areas around the country. The National Lightning Safety Institute estimates the cost of lightning damage in the $5 to $6 billion dollar per year range. Lightning that hits trees and the ground is a common cause of wildfires, structure fires, property damage, and power outages.

Heavy Snow / Blizzards

Blizzards are severe winter storms that combine heavy snowfall, with high winds and freezing temperatures. The combination of cold, wind, and snow damages homes, businesses, and automobiles. Heavy snow can produce dangerous conditions, including roof collapse.

Floods

Floods are typically the result of heavy rain and water that rises faster than storm drains can handle. Flash floods driven by quick, violent bursts of rain can flood homes, basements, and businesses, causing serious damage to both interiors and exteriors. Flooding is a very dangerous storm phenomenon that results in numerous deaths and extensive property damage each year.

Derecho Storms

A derecho is a large, violent, fast-moving, complex of thunderstorms that follow one another along a path of at least 240 miles, with wind gusts of at least 58 mph. Although derechos are very difficult to predict, they often form along the boundary of a large, hot air mass near a jet-stream air current. 

Tropical Storms

A tropical storm is a type of storm system that develops in tropical environments. These storms are characterized by extremely low pressure systems and high-speed, swirling winds. In order for a storm to be classified as a “tropical storm,”  a specific set of circumstances must exist. In order to be a tropical storm, the wind speed must be between 39 and 73 miles per hour. Lower or higher wind speeds would be another classification (lower: tropical depression, higher: hurricane). 

Hurricanes

A hurricane is the most powerful classification given to a tropical cyclone. Characterized by low barometric pressure systems, extremely high winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges and swells,  hurricanes that make landfall can be extremely destructive. 

What Does FEMA Stand For and What Does It Do?

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)  supports the citizens and first responders who work  to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. 

Climactic Versus Climatic

Many people get these two words confused. Climactic comes from climax. Climatic comes from climate. So when we are talking storms, we are usually talking about climatic.

How Are Hurricanes Named?

Ever wonder how hurricanes get their names? And why do hurricanes have names at all? Meteorologists long ago learned that naming tropical storms and hurricanes helps people remember the storms, communicate about them more effectively, and so stay safer if and when a particular storm strikes a coast. These experts assign names to hurricanes according to a formal list of names that is approved of prior to the start of each hurricane season.

Most hurricanes were originally designated by a system of latitude-longitude numbers, which was useful to meteorologists trying to track these storms. Unfortunately, this system was confusing to people living on coasts seeking hurricane information.

In 1950 a formal practice for storm naming was first developed for the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, storms were named according to a phonetic alphabet (e.g., Able, Baker, Charlie), and the names used were the same for each hurricane season; in other words, the first hurricane of a season was always named “Able,” the second “Baker,” and so on.

In 1953, to avoid the repetitive use of names, the system was revised so that storms would be named after female names. By doing this, the National Weather Service was mimicking the habit of naval meteorologists, who named the storms after women, much as ships at sea were traditionally named for women.

In 1979 the system was revised again to include both female and male hurricane names.

Atlantic hurricane names for the 2017 season are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30

Where to Donate

Red Cross Disaster Relief

Other Places to Donate and Avoid Scams

Habitat for Humanity

Thank you to the following websites for providing information!

Where Do Storms Get Their Names?

Hurricane Wind Scale

List of 40 Highly Rated Places to Donate

Types of Storms