Thursday, March 28, 2013

Which TV Boss Do You Work For?

There are many types of bosses, from serious, commanding types like Claire Underwood to fun, friendly types like Michael Scott. Find out which famous TV boss is your manager’s personality twin!

Did we get it right? Which TV boss do you work for? Share your stories in the comments.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Remember When? 6 Grammar Rules From the Past

Merriam-Webster defines grammar quite simply as the set of rules explaining how we use words in the English language. And as language itself has evolved over time, so have the rules of grammar. Given the speed with which written communication has adapted to life in the Internet era, even the strictest style mavens understand that some grammar conventions may no longer apply. Here are some grammar rules today’s writers can usually safely ignore.

What Is a Subordinating Conjunction?

A subordinating conjunction is a word or phrase that links a dependent clause to an independent clause. This word or phrase indicates that a clause has informative value to add to the sentence’s main idea, signaling a cause-and-effect relationship or a shift in time and place between the two clauses.

Sound complicated? Let’s break it down.

A dependent clause, also known as a subordinate clause, is a clause with two specific qualities.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not-So-Sweet 16 Game 6: Total Tardiness vs. The Interrupter

It’s better late than . . . wait, wait, wait. See how annoying that was?

Delaying meetings because of careless tardiness is never fun, but interrupting your coworkers is likely to make you pretty unpopular as well. But which is the most frustrating? Vote below, and leave your stories of rudeness in the comments.

Total Tardiness

Having to stall a meeting or punt other tasks because you’re waiting on another person is the pits.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Funny Phrases: The Hair of the Dog

The morning after a long night out, a friend might recommend you start your day with ‘the hair of the dog.’ No, she doesn’t want you to rub your face up against her pet golden retriever. According to, to offer someone ‘the hair of the dog’ is to recommend that they consume a small amount of whatever caused their ailment. If you drank a lot of alcohol last night and you’re feeling hungover, the ‘hair of the dog’ might be something like a bloody mary or mimosa—a drink that has a little alcohol in it.

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day

“It’s not how much we give,” said Mother Teresa, “but how much love we put into giving.” This statement is liberating and beautiful, but it sets a high standard on Mother’s Day. Buying Mom a blouse at the mall might be convenient, but creating a heartfelt gift with your own hands means more.

Mother’s Day is May 10. Check out these five creative ways to help Mom understand just what she means on her special day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why Do We Call April 1 April Fools’ Day?

A day for fools? People around the world, and especially in North America and Europe, celebrate April 1 by playing practical jokes and trying to convince each other of outlandish false stories. But how did these customs evolve and why on the first day of April?

To answer that, we have to journey back in time to the reign of Constantine, a Roman emperor in the fourth century. The rulers of that period entertained themselves and their guests with “fools,” court jesters proficient in music, storytelling, acrobatics, or other skills.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stop Confusing These Words: Immigrate and Emigrate

The difference between these two words is all about coming and going. When you immigrate, you’re coming to a new country. When you emigrate, you’re leaving your home country.

Immigrate: to move into a country from another one to stay permanently.

My ancestors immigrated to the United States sometime in the 1800s.

Emigrate: to leave the country in which one lives, especially one’s native country, to reside elsewhere.

Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect, also called the pluperfect, is a verb tense used to talk about actions that were completed before some point in the past.

We were shocked to discover that someone had graffitied “Tootles was here” on our front door. We were relieved that Tootles had used washable paint.

The past perfect tense is for talking about something that happened before something else.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brand Imposters: 7 Funniest Misspelled Product Knock-Offs

One of the best things about language is its malleability. You can switch around a few letters, relocate a comma, or replace a pronoun, and you’ve suddenly changed the meaning of a sentence. The same principle applies to product logos. A small change can make a big — and hilarious — difference. Here is a short list of some side-splittingly funny product knock-offs from around the world.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Robots and English

There’s a harsh reality we need to face—a robotic, AI-driven Shakespeare is nowhere in sight. No robot will write verse that influences English the way Bard’s did anytime soon. You won’t find an AI spitting rhymes like Rakim or Nas, either.

But if your standards aren’t too high, there is some AI-constructed poetry you can read today. Take an AI that uses the recurrent neural network language model technique, feed it thousands of romantic novels to learn language from, give it a starting sentence and an ending sentence, instruct it to fill the gap between them, and you’ll get something like this:

Commas with Interrupters

Interrupters are little thoughts in the middle of a thought, added to show emotion, tone or emphasis. When we use an interrupter in the middle of a sentence, it should be emphasized with commas. This is because without the use of commas, the flow of the sentence may be awkward for the reader.

Interrupters are easily identified by saying the sentence out loud; you’ll naturally pause where the commas should be.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What is the Subjunctive Mood?

In most cases, the subjunctive form of a verb is usually the third-person form of the verb with the ‑s dropped, but the verb to be is a special case. The subjunctive is used after certain expressions that contain an order or a request, a hypothetical, or a wish.

It Is Recommended That…

Here’s an example of the subjunctive mood in action:

It is recommended that she prepare a short speech before the ceremony.