JaniceHeck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

#WordlessWednesday: Pooches on Parade

April 2013 dump 073

#AtoZ, 2014: Z is for Zero the Hero in a Repeat Performance

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*Drum roll* *Bugles* *Wild applause* Ta dah: Introducing Zero the Hero.

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero is a favorite character in kindergarten classes even though he is a bit mysterious and doesn’t like to show himself. He sneaks into classrooms on the eves of the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th days of school and leaves poems, cartoons, games, arts and crafts projects (related to  himself, of course), and even some treats. Like Santa Claus, though, he does finally appear: on Day 100 in full Zero the Hero regalia bringing even more sweet treats and number projects.

Zero teaches the children about counting to 100, counting by tens, and using zeros as place holders. He adds to the fun of kindergarten and builds student interest in numbers and math.

I wrote about Zero once before when I had reached my 200th post: Zero the Hero Helps Celebrate My 200th Post. (Now I am at post #332.)

Here he is again:

Zeros can be fun, but they can also be tricky. Sometimes they don’t like to follow rules.

Zero: noun, adjective, or verb?

First of all, sometimes zeros pretend to nouns, and at other times they pretend to be adjectives or verbs. It all seems to depend on their mood and what they ate for breakfast. (Donuts=good day. Plain old oatmeal=bad day. That’s how you operate, too, isn’t it? Admit it.)

Zero as a noun:  zero, zeros* (plural)

Although plural nouns that end in o usually have the -es ending, zero doesn’t follow this rule.  *Zeros is Webster’s preferred spelling for more than one zero,  but Webster does accept zeroes as the inferior second cousin: okay to use if you really must. (Webster rolls his eyes when you do spell the plural noun as zeroes.)

Is zero a number?
The prospect of Garfunkel getting a job paying $1 million is zero.
The score of the Phillies vs. the Dodgers was zero to zer0.

Zero can combine with other nouns to make compound nouns.

zero gravity
zero hour
zero population growth

Zero as a verb:  zero, zeroes*, zeroed, zeroing.
Compound verb: zero in, zero in on, zero out

(Aha. See how quirky this Zero fellow is. When Zero is a noun, he doesn’t want the -es ending, but when he a verb, he does. Go figure.)

The CEO zeroes in on every item in the budget.
Every month my teenager zeroes out his allowance.
My English teacher zeroes in on every spelling and grammar mistake that I make.

Zero as an adjective:

When zero combines with another word to form an adjective, use a hyphen before the noun.

The company promises a zero-defect product.
The weather man reported zero-zero conditions: zero visibility and zero ceiling
Zero-based budgeting requires that budget makers to justify every expenditure they make.
The CEO zeroes in on every item in the zero-based budget.

Zeros and hyphens: look it up.

Some compound words with zero use a hyphen, while others do not.  To be safe on which is which, check your dictionary.

So, zeros break the rules, but they are handy fellows to have around. Anyway, the more zeros after the other big numbers on my paycheck, the better I like them!

***

And now how about Zero-based Thinking?  Read this article for writers by Matthew Eaton, posted on C.S. Lakin’s blog, Live. Write. Thrive.   You’ll find some good advice on what to do with those unpublished manuscripts stashed in drawers, hidden from all eyes. There is hope!

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

#WordAWeek: Water

Suellewellyn: Word A Week Photo Challenge: Water:

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

#AtoZ, 2014: Y is for Yadda, Yadda, Yadda and Yakety Yak.

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And the beat goes on… Y day in the #AtoZ. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s all been said before.

Yadda, yadda, yadda as a term doesn’t make it into print resources like the American Heritage Dictionary or Garner’s Modern American Usage, but you can find it on the Internet in the Urban Dictionary  and English Daily:

A phrase that means “and so forth” or “on and on;” it usually refers to something that is a minor detail or boring and repetitive. English Daily

When telling about a happening in your life, you might not want to give all the details because that would make your story too long and too boring. Instead, substitute “yadda, yadda, yadda” for the boring and repetitive parts and get to the most important, more interesting parts.

Although the phrase yadda, yadda, yadda was coined by Lenny Bruce in the 1960, Seinfeld later made this phrase popular in this clip: Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Synonyms for yadda, yadda, yadda:

yakety yak  The Coasters sang this popular song, Yakety Yak, when I was in high school college a while ago.

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Yul Brynner, in the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, tells Deborah Kerr this:

When I sit, you sit.
When I kneel, you kneel.
Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

The Last Meow

yadda cat 2 cheezburger.c omyadda cat  Cheezburgr

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

Here’s another Y post for you (2013)   Y is for…Your, You’re, Y’all, Ya’ll, Yall, You All, You Guys, and Yakety-Yak

 

#AtoZ, 2014: X is for X. Is it Better to Be Safe or Sorry?

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X is a jack-of-all-trades.  It can be an abbreviation, a noun, a verb, or the first letter of some adjectives.

Xing, pronounced crossing,  is a commonly used abbreviation to alert pedestrians about where to cross the street safely at busy intersections.ped xing

But I do think this next fellow has clearly taken advantage of the intended purpose of the pedestrian crossing sign.

Granny and Little Red Riding Hood safely cross the street with a very hungry Mr. Wolf.

Granny and Little Red Riding Hood safely cross the street with a very cunning and ravenous Mr. Wolf.

Other functions of X

X (eks) can be a noun (a letter or symbol)

X marks the spot on a treasure map; the place to dig to find buried treasure
Put an X in the box to indicate your choice for President.

X (eks) can be a verb. verb forms: x’s (plural), x-ed  (past tense)  x-ing (present participle)

X out all those extra adjectives and adverbs!
The editor is x-ing out all my favorite bits of dialogue.

Bob, the typesetting boy for the Alexander-the-Great-o-nopolis Gazette, in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “X-ing a Paragrab,” had fun x-ing out all the o’s in editor John Smith’s editorial. PoeCalendar.com reviews that story here: “Txld yxu sx. yxu knxw.” This story is definitely good for a laugh!

X can be on adjective: words that start with xanth, xen, xer, and xyl

xanth-yellow. xanthous, xantric
xen- foreign. xenophobic, fear of foreigners or strangers
xer-dry. Xeroxing is a dry copying process, not a wet chemical bath process.
xyl-to do with wood.  Xylophagous bees are wood-boring bees.

You can find more X adjectives here: Grammar.YourDictionary.com

***

Your Turn: What do you think? Should Granny and Little Red cross the street with Mr. Wolf?

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^ !^>=

cat x ing

 

 

 

#Cee’s Photo Odd Balls Week 9

Cee comes up with some good ones! Odd Ball Photo Challenge Week 9: Pictures that just don’t fit anywhere…

Old Town Historical Park, San Diego, CA

Old Town Historical Park, San Diego, CA  Part of the whole…

Easter egg cactus?

Whole

 

Easter egg cactus?

California Easter egg cactus?

California vintage purple people picker-upper

California vintage purple people picker-upper

All these odd ball photos came from my recent trip to California. Just sayin’.

022714-odd-ball

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk, a regular feature on this blog, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

=<^;^>=

 

Word a Week Photo Challenge: Round

Suelleweelyn Word a Week Photograph Challenge: Round. Photos I have taken on several trips to Arizona and California.

Indian fry bread taco. For a recipe go to Navajo Fry Bread: http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/NavajoFryBread.htm

Indian fry bread taco. For a recipe go to Navajo Fry Bread: http://whatscookingamerica.net/ History/NavajoFryBread.htm

 

On the Grand Canyon trail

On the Grand Canyon Rim Trail, south side

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

 

Labyrinth on the Annenberg Estate, Rancho Mirage, CA at the corners of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra Drives.

Labyrinth on the Annenberg Estate, Rancho Mirage, CA at the corners of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra Drives.

 

Silent Sunday…Walk in the Park

091silent sunday

#AtoZ, 2014: W is for Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

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How handy. The letter W just fell into my lap with the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters.

Here are a few pictures I took on Mount Nebo, Jordan in December, 2012.

mmm

Silhouette view of the full monument on Mt. Nebo. Faces, figures, and letters embedded in the monument present a message from the ages. Moses and the Israelites arrived at Mt. Nebo in Jordan, not far from the Dead Sea, after wandering for 40 years in the desert on the Sinai Peninsula. (Deuteronomy 32: 49-52). Moses viewed the Promised Land from this mountaintop before he died… “and to this day no one knows where his grave is.” (Deut. 34:6) After Moses died at 120 years old, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. (Deut. 34:1-7)

 

Close-up view of lower part of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Close-up view of lower part of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Middle view of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Middle view of monument on Mt. Nebo.

 

mmm

Mt. Nebo Memorial of Moses

 

mmm

View of the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo.

 

mmm

Chart showing distances from Mt. Nebo to various important biblical sites.

Video clip: HeidiTravels8:
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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, traveler, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: V is for Verb-less Sentences

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

FR, Frag. Fragment, INC, Incomplete.logo 2.2

Remember sitting in English class in high school and the teacher returning your essay all marked up in red, with FR, INC, AWK, WW written in the margins? As a teacher, I wrote these symbols on student papers myself, and later when I worked for an editor of a small journal, he used these symbols on draft manuscripts submitted for publication.

(Okay, I laugh when I see AWK,  the symbol for an awkward sentence, because it conjures up this image in my demented imagination: a brightly colored parrot swinging on its perch in my office and yelling, “AWK, AWK, AWK.”)

Teachers follow the rules. Whether short or long, sentences must have two parts: a subject and a predicate. Writing gurus still argue about the definition of “sentence” (see Garner’s Modern American Usage, “Incomplete Sentences,”  for a discussion on this topic), but the most-commonly accepted definition of a sentence is similar to Webster’s: A sentence is…

a.  a word or group of words stating, asking, commanding, or exclaiming something;
b.  conventional unit of connected speech or writing, usually containing a subject and predicate;
c.  in writing, a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with an end mark: period, question mark exclamation mark, etc.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, not everyone agrees on the need to use complete sentences all the time. Bill Walsh, well-known commentator on writing and author of Lapsing into a Comma (2000) makes this comment about sentence fragments:

Only the most tin-eared, fuddy-duddy excuses for copy editors routinely convert every single fragment they see into a complete sentence.

Generally, teachers hold to the subject/predicate definition of sentences and hold students to it for good reason: student writing maturity hasn’t develop enough to know when and how to use fragments effectively.

But anyone who does a lot of reading soon discovers that writers use sentence fragments in their writing. Of course, they use fragments, not by accident as immature writers might, but deliberately to create impact.

Israeli writer Shammai Golan uses short, choppy sentences and fragments to convey the fear, shock, and disbelief of this mortally wounded young soldier

The Uzi’s a good weapon. Effective. For defense. For attack. In face-to-face-fighting. But today’s Friday. And SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESthere’s peace at the borders. And I’m only on watch over their road. They fired. Suddenly. Why’d they fire, suddenly? In war one fires. People get wounded. Killed. In the War of Independence. . . .

I’m breathing. With difficulty though. That’s because of the blood. I’m all wet. Maybe it suddenly rained. Sometimes it rains in September. Even before Yom Kippur. And I’m already damp. And flowing. All is flowing. And all is vanity. And you can never enter the same river twice. The Philosopher teacher. A great sage. . . .

And the leaves fall over my body.  Soft. Purple. Like the water under my belly. Soft. Warm. How long can one flow like this. An hour. Two. Three. . . .

—Shammai Golan, “Ten Centimeters of Dust” in Children of Israel, Children of Palestine: Our Own True Stories (Holliday, 1998

Golan stream of consciousness writing style effectively portrays the desperateness of this soldier’s situation. It is an example of how the mind might be thinking in this particular situation. Definitely not in complete sentences.

So, yes, there are rules for writing complete sentences, but good writers ignore these rules at times in order to develop their own style.

Verb-less and noun-less sentences (incomplete sentences) have other reasons for being, but most often they add bits and pieces of information to a previous sentence. Almost as an afterthought.

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Miss Alister, of The Essence of a Thing, writes effective incomplete sentences reflecting an active mind thinking in true, not-always-linear fashion: The deciphering of V. The V Paragraph: Vernacular, 4/24/14.

Here’s more on kernel sentences from yours truly:

Janice Heck: K is for Kernel Sentences. Nouns and verbs control the world. 04/12/2013 (2013 AtoZ)

***

Your Turn: How do you use sentence fragments in your writing? Got an example?

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

 

 

 

 

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