Tag Archives: Irony

Merry Grammarmas to all and to all a goodnight!

27 Jun

Hmmm. That’s odd. It’s June 27. It’s 80 degrees out, perfect beach weather, and I’m drinking an iced coffee. However, I had to check five different technologies to make sure it wasn’t December 25. Today feels like Christmas. Then I realized, today is not Christmas; it must be Grammarmas! You won’t want to sit next to your fireplace, drink hot chocolate, and sing carols. Instead you’ll want to read some Strunk and White and speak only in Iambic Pentameter. This Grammarmas, I got the best presents from Grammar Claus and I want to share them with you.

While perusing the Internet this morning at work, I found a buried treasure of obscure and unusual punctuation. Thank you, Grammar Claus! This is the best Grammarmas present ever! I was so excited as I was reading about their various uses. Believe it or not, it was more exciting than the day that the English Department gives out the course offerings pamphlet for the following semester. It was quite the challenge at work as I could barely contain myself with delight. I needed to take a break so I could calm down and get a tissue to wipe away the tears of joy that were welling up in my eyes.

I won’t make this any more suspenseful for you, as I am sure you are dying to see these punctuation presents. They will be sure to warm your heart as they did mine. I only included my favorite ones because I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

irony-point

This is the Irony Point. It is a backwards question mark. How cool is that! It is used to indicate that the sentence is meant to be understood on a second level. In other words, you could use this when the sentence contains an element of irony or even sarcasm. No, that’s not cool at all؟

love-point

This is the Love Point. So basically, I would use this after every sentence describing these new punctuation marks. 🙂 Before I go on, I want to warn you that these are the marks really caused me to need to take a breather. I completely encourage you to read on, but when you collapse onto the floor, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

exclamation-comma

This is called the Exclamation Comma. It is the beloved child of the exclamation point and the comma. You use it when you want to show excitement, but you don’t want to finish the sentence.

question-comma

The Question Comma is the inquisitive cousin of the exclamation comma.

interrobang

This punctuation is called the Interrobang.  I’m sure you can guess how you would use this one. This is the exact punctuation I would have use when I discovered all of these marks. (“Whatttt?!?!?? THERE’S MORE?!?!?”)

  As you may know, the semicolon used to be my favorite punctuation mark. I’m sorry, semicolon, but we’re done. We had a long relationship that lasted many years. You helped me add dynamic to my writing with varying sentence structure. You worked so well with words like however and therefore and complicated items in a series. Unfortunately, it seems as if our love affair has come to an end. I realized that there is so much more interesting punctuation out there. I am sure you’ll find another gramatician that you will make very happy.

Merry Grammarmas everyone! I hope you enjoyed these wonderful grammar presents.

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The Finest Example of Free Verse in the English Language

20 May

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            I found this picture online and it made me think of my friend Alex immediately. He is obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt. Not only is Teddy Alex’s favorite president, but he is also one of his favorite historical figures—second to none other than Gandhi. When I met Alex, he had never been to Sagamore Hill, (Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island) let alone heard of it—and he called himself a Roosevelt fan, whatta poser :). Since I live two towns over from and went to high school in Oyster Bay, I felt obligated to take him to Long Island and show him Sagamore Hill and Teddy’s gravesite. Alex didn’t learn anything on the tour because he already knew all Roosevelt trivia you can think of, but it was still a lot of fun. Anyway, the play on the “world’s most interesting man” meme pretty much exemplifies why Roosevelt is Alex’s favorite president—Teddy Roosevelt was a boss. The man was shot with a pistol at point-blank range during a speech, yet he went on to continue the speech before going to the hospital.

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Alex and I at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, Long Island

So it got me thinking who is my favorite president? And why? Naturally, I knew the answer immediately. Abraham Lincoln, of course. No, I don’t pick favorite historical figures based on their political policies, remarkable actions, or heroic deeds. No, that would be too normal. Abraham Lincoln has been my favorite president ever since I discovered that his Gettysburg Address is widely considered the finest example of free verse in the English language. I can’t think of a better reason to pick a favorite, but let’s see why.

Lincoln was attending an event to dedicate the plot of land that was to be used as the cemetery for those who had died in the Battle of Gettysburg—the turning point of the American Civil War. For the ceremony, Governor Edward Everett, who was known for his oratory skills, was asked to give a speech at the ceremony. He went on for over two hours before Lincoln gave his two-minute address. His Gettysburg Address was a mere and 272 words with ten sentences. He offered more meaningful, profound thoughts in those two minutes than many will in a lifetime.

When simple phrasing would have sufficed, Lincoln used such beautiful, poetic wording. When you say the immortal words

aloud, you can feel their powerful cadence and rhythm. You can only imagine what the audience thought that day when they heard the speech uttered for the first time. The speech also shows how Lincoln was a good writer.

  • Contrasts in speeches get people’s attention. In the Gettysburg Address, there is frequent juxtaposition of contrasting ideas—for example, “those who here gave their lives that this nation might live”.
  • There is an abundance of metaphors of birth, life, and death in the speech—namely through words like conceived, final resting place, and so on.
  • The use of triads in a public address is also very compelling. Lincoln offers some of the most famous triads in history: “…government of the people, by the people, for the people” and “…we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground”.

However, my favorite aspect of the speech is its irony. Take a look at the line, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here”. Lincoln says that no one will remember a simple dedication ceremony for a cemetery, but his speech is regarded one of the best in American history. I am even writing a blog about it. Lincoln said these words years ago, but people will continue to remember them for countless years to come.

I’d love to hear who your favorite president or historical figure is and why. In the meantime, here is a reading of The Gettysburg Address. Enjoy!

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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.