Thursday, May 17, 2007


USAGE, n. The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and Third being Custom and Conventionality. Imbued with a decent reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious writer may hope to produce books that will live as long as the fashion.

2007 Update: The linguistic conventions that distinguish local speech from provincial slang.


Anonymous said...

I'm first? I can't be. I'm in shock. I'm dying. There's probably somebody clicking the send button as I write

I cant define or use usage. I'm in too much shock

The Old Mule said...

usage: the lilt of the ballad

Anonymous said...

USAGE, phr. High praise for your wisdom. Except when preceded by parsely and followed by rosemary. Less high praise for my grammar.


Anonymous said...

um... parsley? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

usage -- be the word gived to 'splain proper speechin'. Rules is necessary for us so we could all knowed what the other guy be yammerin' 'bout.

Minka said...

usage,n. How old is America these days, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Nice, Pia - very nice.

Usage: The more of this, the less it smells like a new car any more.

Minka said...

usage,n. descriptive grammar as opposed to prescriptive grammar, pretty much Larry the Cable Guy vs. Queen Elizabeth.

Did you that back in 2001 the Oxford dictionary allowed the infinitive to be split? It is henceforth, perfectly grammatical "to boldly go". Riveting, isn´t it?

Anonymous said...

Usage: the wear and tear on the worn and torn.

Amoeba, i actually thought you were making up a new word with parsely, and thought it clever. kind of like "he parselyed out his sage advice and dished it up to Rosemary at Scarborough Fair." heh heh. (fine... in my head that was funny)

ckmunson said...

useage - associated with agreements, where one signs on the dotted line saying that they will not use the product or service in the percise way and reason they wanted it in the first place!

Unknown said...

Douglas, ur a y's 1, u sage

Mother Theresa said...

usage: the manner in which the Queen's English is murdered by the common man. (Hey, I never knew I was an assassin)

Minka said...

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert printed on BOTTOM:

"Do not turn upside down!"

well...duh, a bit late, huh!

Some people certainly lack pragmatic competence in the target language, don´t they?

Minka said...

I´ll probably get barred from this site for this, but...

The importance of pronunciation

"On a visit to the United States, Charles de Gaulle was honoured at a banquet in the White House. Seated beside his wife was an official who spoke no French, but who tried to engage her in conversation by asking

"Madame de Gaulle, what do you think the most important thing in life is?"

"A penis", she replied.

Overhearing, her husband said gently "I believe, my dear, that in English it is pronounced 'appiness."

G said...

Minka, that reminds me of being in my Aunt Helen's kitchen and she would have the Flinstone's jelly jar glasses from which we would drink. I would invariably spill some of the drink as I attempted to see who was on the bottom. All way before your time and place.

Usage: You say goodbye and I say hello.

G said...

forgot the " and "'s.

By the way am I the only one who grew up thinking youse was proper English? Well actully "yuz".

Hobbes said...

Today's sloppy habit, tomorrow's rigid propriety.

G said...

Haha Minka, actually I was referring to your first comment, the second one is quite funny.

Anonymous said...

G: whenever i turned my jelly glass upside down in hopes of seeing some cute cartoon character, i'd find: "What are you looking here for?" that's what we got, i suppose, for using Smucker's instead of Welch's. d'oh!

laughing at Minka's 'appy anecdote, too. ; )

Anonymous said...

Howling over Minka's happiness.

Doug The Una said...

Pia, "can't use usage" should be Courting Destiny's subtitle. Clever, lady.

And the dirge, Mule.

Amoeba, I wonder why UHIBERNIAN isn't a word.

Si, Quillito.

Minka, are we tracing back to Gondawanaland or the resignation of Jefferson Davis?

Al, in Manhattan, chiefly the aggregation of switching sides of the streets, right?

Git 'er done, Minka! The is so good to finally hear! How about, can I dangle my participle from now on?

Neva, that's a great definition.

Howdy, CJ. You mean like with a box of q-tips?

tx k

Theresa, I could tell by the shades.

Minka, back in my youth we had a phrase you reminded me of. "That guy's so dumb, he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if there was instructions on the heel."

Minka, with Sarkozy, that's a whole other joke. When I'm barred I like to do crossword puzzles.

G, I remember those. Can you imagine the evil little bachelor who invented them?

You betcha, Hobbes. You're wearing your name better and better.

And yet, Neva, I can only hope you had fewer juice stains.

Jenna, that sounds like a scene from The Crying Game.

tsduff said...

An algebra teacher I had in college mystified me with her usage of a term I had never heard of... DEE-vull-opp. She was of course, trying to explain how one would "develop" a formula. I still have very little usage for math to this day...

Minka said...

Oh I got loads where this one came from :)

Two translators are on board of a ship which is about to sink.
first translator: Can you swim?
second translator, no...but I can scream HELP in 9 different languages!


usage, there´s a time and a place for any word in existence. However, sometimes to no avail :)

Nessa said...


Student to Teacher: Can I go to the bathroom?

Teacher to Student: I don't know, can you?

Student to Teacher: May I go to the bathroom?

Teacher to Student: Yes, you may.

Anonymous said...

"Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each once a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anonymous said...

My mind must be pure filth because Joel's quote had me snickering. I'm pretty sure that wasn't what Emerson wanted for a response. Then again...he hadn't met me. I'm so not mature.

Doug The Una said...

Terry if you can take math in college and be mystified by the accent you should be a mathematician. It was the math in math class that baffled me. I guess you're the counting crow.

Minka, Little Redcap came to her grandmother's house, unaware that her grandma had been eaten by a linguist. When little Redcap saw the figure in bed she said "Oh, grandma! My, what a big Clause you have!"

Goldennib, and that's why people lose interest in education so young.

That's a fine quote, Joel, assuming Emerson was being sarcastic.

Ms. Howard, I think its time for you let the wooer win for a day.

Tom & Icy said...

Maybe usage creates new words to describe and express the same old things.

AsianSmiles said...

the other side of the coin-ed.

when i misuse a word or use a slang, i always told my english teacher "it's a coined word" (don't you know?).

of course the excuse didn't all the time

have a good usage of the night time doug. *wink*

Minka said...

Icy winks, is that new? If you look long enough at his profile picture he winks...

Can I tie this in with the word usage? Sure, but I am not gonna!

Jamie Dawn said...

U-sage (you-sage): Calling one wise man.

U-sages: Calling several wise guys.

Speaking of wise people, my mother's name is Marguerite, and my dad's nickname for her is Magi.

Anonymous said...

Yes Doug, he probably lived somewhere North of LA with's just what I'm imagining.

Doug The Una said...

Icy, it sure does incent out-of-box thinking.

See, Asiansmiles, I used to do something similar. I'd smile at teacherswith a patronizing "I see we haven't heard the word 'maritious' before. How wonderful that you made it this far!" look on my face. Thanks for wishing me a good night's sleep. (I wish I knew what you seem to.)

Way to hold your ground, Minka.

*Stallone voice* Actonbellllll! Actonbelllllll!

Jamie Dawn, that sorta makes him a polygamist, doesn't it?

The utter cad, G! Monster!

AsianSmiles said...

nights are for sleepin doug - if we could figure out the time you sleep and wake up, the race to the "first comment" might get more exciting! (i think?)

yup, wishing u a good night sleep, and same goes to others!

night y'all.

Sar said...

Icy's winking?! Actobell said bitchin?!! Holy frejoles!

Look at all I'm missing due to my limited online sage these days.

Sar said...

Oh for the love of coffee (of which I'm in obvious need) make that usage!

tsduff said...

The dog is sleeping in.

Doug The Una said...

Mornin', Asiansmiles!

Sar, this old world just looks the same.

The dog has an agenda, crow!