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Willie’s Etymology Lesson! —Dunce

3 May

DunceDoesn’t Willie look so cute in that hat? Of course he does 🙂 This picture was taken in December during Willie’s first birthday party. It’s clearly a birthday hat that he’s wearing. If you thought that is a dunce cap he has on, you must not know Willie too well. He is a very smart boy. He is so smart that he taught me the etymology of the word dunce.

The modern meaning of dunce is a slow-witted person or student in particular. Well, it didn’t always have that meaning. Back in the day, John Duns Scotus was a highly influential medieval theologian and philosopher. Well he still is influential because many of his teachings are still in use today in the Catholic Church. From the middle ages up unto the beginning of the Protestant Revolution, the followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as Duns. Later in the 16th century, Protestants who opposed Duns Scotus’ way of thinking referred to Scotus’ followers in a derogatory way and the term Duns grew into a term of abuse. The Protestants felt that the Duns were closed-minded and unwilling to learn. The spelling of the word and its meaning slowly evolved into how it is used today because of John Duns Scotus and his followers.

Willie is not a dunce, or a Duns, but I think John Duns Scotus would find him adorable!

Willie teaches me to lay v. to lie

3 Nov

There are a few things that no matter how many times you tell me, I will never absorb the information: how old my dad is, daylight savings (spring ahead; fall back—what is that?), and lastly, the tenses of to lie v. to lay. Willie has inspired me to take care of that last one. He said he’ll help me figure out a way to remember the tenses. Let’s see if this works!

To Lie—to rest or recline


Simple Present: Willie lies on the couch now.


Simple Past: Willie lay in the shade yesterday.


Past Participle: Willie should have lain under the bed because he thought it was comfortable.

To Lay—to put something down


Simple Present: Willie lays his lobster toy down.


Simple Past: I laid Willie down on his back.


Past Participle: Willie stood next to his red, stuffed toy which he had laid there only moments before.

I think Willie was on to something. I definitely remember the differences better now! Thank you WIllie, I’ll give you a treat 🙂

Meet Willie!

1 Apr

This is my formal introduction to my faithful and very small audience of my little brother, Willie! While he might not have anything to do with grammar, he makes me happy. He makes a lot of people happy! Good moods foster good grammar. If you believe that you’re gullible, but I need an excuse for the copious amount of Willie pictures that I plan on posting, so there you have it!

Willie is a one-year-old Sheltie. He is the happiest creature to have ever walked this Earth. Most people say that they rescued their dog. Willie rescued us. My family and I were mourning the loss of our first dog and Willie’s older brother, Sheff. Willie helped fill the enormous void that Sheff’s loss created. Willie did not replace Sheff—no one could replace him. For me, as the youngest member of my family, I was born loving all of the members of my family. Sheff was the first thing that I grew to love. Our need to get Willie was a testament to how much we loved Sheff and his influence on our lives.

Significant dates:

  • 30 December 2010: Willie’s Birthday!
  • 19 March 2011: Willie Day! The day we adopted him