Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

Marroooo! The Cat in the Pack

I have a cat who, I think, thinks he’s a dog. I have another cat who will speak dog if Spooky Man asks him to.

What does this have to do with “Marroooo!”? Well, we took Stuart to the vet last summer with Hank the dog. And he discovered — again — that he doesn’t like car rides. We discovered what he sounds like when he tries to howl like Hank: Meeeoooow. Meeeooowww. Maarrroooo!

This is all backstory.

Tuffy, the outside cat, recently had to spend the night inside because Spooky Man was sure it was going to be Too Cold For Outside Cats. At four a.m., my darling man got up to use the facilities and Tuffy — wide awake because all self-respecting cats should be out catting around at four in the morning, thank you very much — meowed and chirped to go outside, please.

Spooky Man said, “Okay, you can go outside if you give me one ‘maroo’ and one ‘maroo’ only.”

Tuffy immediately said, “Maroo?” Yes, it was in the form of a question. A rather puzzled question, too, actually.

Spooky Man let him out. It took me 15 minutes to stop giggling and go back to sleep. This is the sort of reality you can never put in a novel because it won’t be believed.


What I’m Thankful For This Year

1. I can feel my feet. (This wasn’t true in 2005; I’m much better now and thankful for it.)
2. I have someone to love.
3. I have interesting work.
4. I have enough money to pay my bills, give to those in need, *and* save for my old age.
5. There are new books to read. Lots of them.

Happy Thanksgiving to folks in the U.S.

Now that the election is over, I can say it

“Well-paying jobs” must be stricken from American English. It is a phrase that makes no grammatical sense whatsoever.

“Paying” is a gerund, a linguistic sleight of hand that turns a noun (or an adjective) into a verb. The problem with this? Um, pay is a verb. Paying is also considered the present tense of the verb “to pay,” but only in specific cases, and it usually requires a helper verb (He *is* paying the rent vs He pays the rent.).

There’s no real reason to create a gerund from a verb, unless you are among those who believe that extra syllables make a word more important (utilize and use don’t actually mean the same thing, for example, although many people use them interchangeably; these are normally the people who opt for the longer word).

So, now that the proverbial “they” have made a verb out of…a verb, these folks then proceed to turn it into a compound adjective by applying the adverb “well” with a hyphen — when they actually remember the hyphen, but that’s a different issue.

The net result is a construction that sounds off when spoken and looks off when written. Why? Because of the double-sex-change of the verb to try to make it sound present-tense (a verb thing) when acting as an adjective (which, like the honey badger, don’t care). See? This is why it makes no sense.

What is a “well-paying job” anyway? Logically, it’s a job that pays well. I would consider a person who has a job that pays well to be well paid, wouldn’t you?

Oh look, there’s the construction the media and politicians should have been using for the last two years: “well-paid jobs.”

That’s definitely it, because “well-paid jobs” doesn’t make my inner grammarian cringe. There, I said it. And I have no regrets.

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