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 🙂


Creating Innovators Review

3 Oct

Creating Innovators

This is a book I reviewed for Jim Estill

Sing, O Muse, O high genius, aid us now. I invoke thee, O Muses, from the darkness of my soul, for the inspiration that will give the young people of our country the innovation necessary to create jobs in this country.

Studies tell us that our children’s creativity capacity has been declining since 1990. We are experiencing a “creativity crisis.” Research shows the deterioration of the young people’s creative capacities over the last two decades. This is a serious issue in light of the recent economic decline and our social and civic well-being. Creativity drives innovation. Business executives from around the world believe that innovation is the best way to create jobs in this country. Since innovation and creativity are essential for saving the country, how can we reverse this decline in the creative capacity in young people? The silly answer would be to invoke the muses with praises similar to the one in the beginning of this review. Doing that is not necessary. All of the answers to generating creativity in young people can be found in Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators.

The book Creating Innovators gives insights into what the important influences are on a young innovator. It teaches you how to maximize the development of a child’s capacity. The book presents the lives of various, highly successful innovators: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics innovators (STEM innovators) and social innovators. It reflects on the different approaches to their upbringings and the different factors of their childhoods that made them who they are today. A special emphasis is on the adults in these people’s lives that helped nurture their creative and innovate spirits. In Wagner’s research for this book, he discovered a pattern among these innovators: play, passion, and purpose, all of which are explained within the chapters. Creating Innovators also explores many ways in which educators are looking to new solutions to various twenty-first century problems.

If these ideas and strategies weren’t enough for you, maybe the format of the book will sell you on buying this book. The format of Creating Innovators is very imaginative. Throughout the pages, there are QR tags. Everyone has seen these tags on products or posters. If you download the free app for your smartphone, you can access additional information and related videos about the innovators through the software. Wagner has taken this idea and applied it to his book. It is truly ingenious! Your smartphone expands the content of the story. The book is filled with information and if you want more, you can access it through the QR tags. It’s truly like having two books in one! I think it is fitting that a book on innovation is innovative itself.

Anyone can learn something from this book. However, this book is perfect for parents, teachers of any level, mentors, and employers. This book has highly valuable information and the potential to foster a strong economic future. To get this future, you need to read the book and integrate this information into our lives.

You Know You’re An English Major When…

2 Sep

You know you’re an English major when you find yourself contemplating which part of speech is your favorite.  After minor deliberation, I have decided that adverbs are my favorite part of speech. Nothing changes a sentence like an adverb does. For real—look at the following sentences:

1) He drove to work. V. He drove recklessly to work

2) I stared at the boy. V. I stared longingly at the boy.

3) I placed the cup on the table. V. I daintily placed the cup on the table.

Adverbs make the sentence more dynamic. Hearing or reading a simple sentence is like looking through a dirty lens—you can make out what you’re looking at, but it’s not very clear. Adding but one adverb clears up the lens better than an adjective ever would. Here is a short list of a few exciting and descriptive adverbs:

Zealously, keenly, absentmindedly, loftily, deceivingly, sheepishly, and methodically 🙂

I remember this one time when I thought, “I wonder if it would be better if I was a business major.” This indecisiveness lastly only ten seconds when I corrected my own grammar (I wonder if it would be better if I were a business major). I can’t imagine being any other major and moments when I catch myself contemplating parts of speech only confirm this feeling.

Well, that’s why I like adverbs. Comment with your own favorite part of speech, favorite adverbs, or sentiments on how weird I am because I care about such things.


****Note: I have been getting a lot of comments saying that one should shy away from adverbs in writing. I completely agree. I guess I should have clarified this better in the post. My love of adverbs is strictly with the spoken word, not the written.


Fitzgerald on Keats

2 Aug

For awhile after you quit Keats, all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming. -F. Scott Fitzgerald

As a fan of American Modernism literature, I take anything F. Scott Fitzgerald says as literary dogma. Upon reading this quote for the first time, I was convinced. I really have been trying to get into Keats’s poetry. I even bought a book of his poems, but unfortunately, I haven’t had any time to read it. 😦 I just decided that I will read it tonight instead of my book for work.


Alanis Morissette- Ironic

2 Jun

I LOVE THE 90’s! I am thoroughly obsessed with 90’s music. I recently indulged myself with a 90’s music downloading binge—it was fantastic! I came across in my iTunes library an old favorite of mine: Ironic by Alanis Morissette. It might just be my favorite Alanis song. Then I started thinking, which can never be good: does Alanis know what irony is? I don’t think so. If she did, I doubt she would have entitled her song Ironic. None of the situations described in her lyrics are ironic. They are merely unfortunate coincidences. There is nothing ironic about rain on your wedding day or dying the day after you win the lottery—that’s just really unlucky. Situational irony (which is what Alanis was going for as she was describing situations) is if the actions taken have an exact opposite effect from what was intended. I think a funny example of situational irony is studying for psychology and wind up driving yourself crazy.

Anyway, watch to her video and see if you agree with me. It’s still a good song, but for obvious rhetorical reasons, I think I like Head Over Feet better.


Words are fun!

1 May

I found this thoroughly entertaining and pretty cute. I must give credit to iwastesomuchtime where I found it. Check it out! 🙂

Words are fun!

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

Absolute Words

31 Mar

This is the most unique blog you will ever see. WRONG! While the sentiment is true—this is a very different blog, that statement is linguistically incorrect. The word “unique” is an absolute word. Meaning, either something is unique or it’s not—there is no such thing as degrees of uniqueness. Therefore, phrases like “really unique” and “kinda unique” are impossible because there are no exceptions to being unique. If you want to be grammatically correct, you should not use an intensifier (really, extremely) + an absolute word. The sentiment you are going for is conveyed without using any modification.

There is a whole list of words that follow the same rules:

  • absolute
  • overwhelmed
  • straight
  • opposite
  • right
  • dead
  • entirely
  • eternal
  • fatal
  • final
  • identical
  • infinite
  • mortal
  • opposite
  • perfect
  • immortal
  • finite
  • irrevocable

The only time using an intensifier to modify an absolute word is permissible if you are trying to using the combination as a rhetorical device to create an effect. For example, you might say “I am half dead” as a hyperbole to show how tired you might be. Aside from that, you should really avoid using an intensifier with a modifier. You’ll thank me later when you want to step up your writing to a more formal level.