Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chro: Jan 7, 2008

Yesterday, I was busy churning out answers to the most frequently encountered grammatical queries. Like:

What is a gerund?
A gerund is a fancy name for a constipated matronly woman in her late fifties. Not even worth bothering.

Is unconscience a genuine word?
Yes. Contrary to popular myth, it is not an absence of conscience. It explores negative terrain further down from where conscience drops to zero. Use it in situations like “I think he has an unconscience. How else could he pee in the swimming pool?”

How do you differentiate between its and it’s?
Example: The dog wags its tail because it is in its nature. Now, we can rewrite this sentence as “The dog wags its tail because it’s in its nature.” “It is” now becomes it’s while we leave the other two its untouched. Since we sacrificed the “extra space and i” from “it is”, we compensated with an apostrophe. Such sacrifices and compensations are de rigueur in the world of grammar.

Philosopher’s/Mountaineer’s version: The dog wags its tail because it is there.
Bio version: The dog wags its tail because it is one of the few organs that a dog can wag.

Give me an example of a relative clause.
A prenuptial agreement.

Why do we have so many punctuations and new usages?
How do you think revised editions of Wren and Martin were sold years ago? [New edition – covers everything from ellipses and square brackets to tilde and grave accent.]

Could you explain the use of colons and semicolons in modern writing?
Yes of course. The colon is used along with the dash and Shift+0 to get a smiley. When used in conjunction with Shift+9, we get a sad face. Similarly, the semicolon is used with the first combo to get a wink. We don’t use it normally with the second combo, as sad people rarely wink. 

Give me an example of a way in which prepositions are used.
Luckily, Tim was in preposition when the water flow stopped.

What is an adverb? How is it different from a verb?
A verb, to start with, is used to denote action of some kind. An adverb is not that different - it is just any verb used in a marketing context. For example, the word “do” in Nike’s “Just do it!” campaign is a classic example of an adverb.

Please explain the difference between direct and indirect speech.
Wife (Direct Speech): Can we go out tonight?
Wife (Indirect Speech): I wish I was in college.

Is it alright to say things like “my friend and I” or “my friend and me?”
Depends on where you live. In democratic countries, yes. It’s also called the right to free speech. 

How come the comma is called a comma?
It is not a full stop. The sentence may recuperate.

Can you tell the difference between stationary and stationery?
Yes, I can.