How to converse with a Grammar Nazi

Did you know that in the last 10 years English literacy levels have declined in Australia but gone up in countries where English is not the main language? Whether it’s the educational system, government of today, laziness, the increased use of abbreviations when texting, or reliance on spell checks and auto corrects, we need to stop and think about what this means. It isn’t good.

To do my part in changing this, I am going to go through some common errors made by many. English is a tricky language though, so some errors we may be forgiven for making. Some.

(I use the Oxford Dictionary as my source).

1. Practice and practise

British English:

  • Practice (noun) – “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, the carrying out or exercise of a profession, and the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.”
  • Practise (verb) – to “perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to acquire, improve or maintain proficiency in it.”

So, a lawyer has her own practice, but she practises law, the piano, or perhaps French.

American English:

  • Practice is used either as a verb or a noun.

2. Lose and loose

  • Lose (verb) – to “be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something), become unable to find (something or someone), fail to win, earn less (money) than one is spending or has spent, waste or fail to take advantage of (time or an opportunity).”

As in, you have lost something/someone/ money/ time/ an opportunity.

  • Loose (in adjective form) – “not firmly or tightly fixed in place, detached or able to be detached, (of a garment) not fitting tightly or closely, not close, compact, or solid in structure or formation, relaxed, physically slack, promiscuous.”

As in, it’s not tight, it’s what can happen to your clothes if you lose weight, it’s how you feel sometimes.

Examples:

I am going to lose this tennis match.

I am going to lose my chance to win her over if she sees Johnny Depp standing over there, by himself.

That is a loose interpretation of the decision.

My clothes are loose.

That girl is seriously loose.

3. Literally

The definition of ‘literally’ has absorbed that of ‘figuratively’ and is used to add emphasis or to exaggerate a statement. We all do it. Some of us know it is incorrect and continue to use it, and others are oblivious.

Literally means it really happened (“in a literal manner”). So when you say ‘I flew to the moon and back just to see you, literally’, you actually mean ‘I flew to the moon and back just to see you, figuratively speaking’ – unless you are an astronaut and did fly to the moon and back just to see me. But I’m not going to be an ass and point this out to you when we’re having a conversation, How I Met Your Mother style. I will just think it behind your back, naturally. I am nice.

Food for thought – with the language ever changing and evolving, if it has become common practice to use a word that isn’t its true and intended meaning, should the definition adapt to suit current usage?

I direct you to an interesting blog by Oxford Dictionaries about the arguably fluid definition of literallyhttp://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/08/literally/.

4. Quotes go after the period – “Travel Thongs is so cool.”

5. Although the word ‘irregardless’ (being a mash of irrespective and regardless) has made its way into the Oxford Dictionary, it is generally considered to be a nonstandard word, meaning that it is commonly used but is not a proper word. And why isn’t it? Put simply, the prefix ir- (meaning ‘not’) and the suffix -less (meaning ‘without’) are both negative and cancel each other out, leaving you with ‘regard’, which I’m sure is not what you were after.

There is continuing debate over this one though, generally those with extreme views loudly voicing their opinions. My personal view is that it is not a word, but until there is an outcome I’m not sure whether to be an ass behind your back or not… I just advise you to use this one with extreme caution in front of Grammar Nazis.

There are many more common English errors so I will continue on this topic over time. As you can see, some are clearly wrong and others are still murky. The geek in me certainly finds this fascinating reading.

If you have a question, would like me to write about something in particular, or would like me to go into more detail, let me know. I wanted to spare you the details and get straight to the point, but happy to oblige!

Aren’t you happy that you found my blog? :)

Now let’s all go to Eezy Breezy Editing’s website and read this all over again, shall we?!

Quotes to inspire… Travel – Part 2

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

These quotes have such a power over me, to want to succeed, live, travel, learn, be a better person… Inspiring quotes allow me to believe that dreams can be a reality.

So here we go.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”  - Isabelle Eberhardt

“To travel is to live.”  - Hans Christian Andersen

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” - William Least Heat Moon

“You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself.” – Ella Maillart

“In both business and personal life, I’ve always found that travel inspires me more than anything else I do. Evidence of the languages, cultures, scenery, food, and design sensibilities that I discover all over the world can be found in every piece of my jewelry.” – Ivanka Trump

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t chose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

“There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!” – Brähmann

“I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” – James Baldwin

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”  Samuel Johnson

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

DSC01152“The journey not the arrival matters.” – TS Eliot

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”  – Rumi

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” –Freya Stark

“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.” – Euripides

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin

“I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.” – David Rockefeller

Does anyone know any other inspiring quotes?

Steps to publishing an error-free document

The English language isn’t easy, so it comes as no surprise that even the most literate among us fall prey to some of the most common mistakes made. Instead of accepting defeat though, persist and over time it will become second nature to use the language correctly.

Correct grammar is especially important when publishing work, whether in hardcopy form or online. As easy as it is to make errors (hey, we’re all human!), readers will judge you on your written word. Keep your audience on track with the message you are conveying by following some simple steps which will help ensure that any errors or oversights are spotted before publishing.

Eezy Breezy has just started a new blog, so head to the website to check out how to receive a gold star for your word-perfect document!

PS I’m not going to be annoying and redirect you to Eezy Breezy’s website all the time, I’ve just made it complicated for myself by having multiple blogs. So while I figure it out, please be patient with me! Plus, this gives me an excuse to showcase my business website :). Thank you.

Competition never hurt anyone, has it?

Starting a business in today’s climate is not easy. Where to begin, what to know, research, marketing, SEO, rules, regulations, creating the website, cost… There are many challenges to contend with, but all within reach and can be capably handled with perseverance and time. A more troubling challenge is how to deal with your competition. Competition can potentially cripple you before you begin, financially and emotionally. But should this be the reason that prevents you from starting what could be your dream business?

Let’s look at some recent, historic, examples of competition on a large-scale. The ‘war’ between Qantas and Virgin in Australia began at a time when Qantas held a monopoly, flights were unreasonably priced, service was debatable, and consumers were but a minor thought. Then Virgin exploded into the market with their big budget, big-scale marketing tactics, and sexed up panache. Thanks to Virgin, today consumers are offered a fun, sexy service, lower prices, and more airlines and routes. This feud has changed the course of the airline industry in Australia and arguably the world, and has forced Qantas and other rivals to increase their overall standards in all aspects of their business. Clap, clap, well done!

What about the famous Samsung and Apple rivalry? The competition between these two companies is fierce, and has affected the entire tech industry. Today it’s an intellectual property dispute, who knows what it will be tomorrow.

But what do we care when companies of this stature and scale battle it out in a space that is beyond us? We care because we, the consumers, are the ultimate winners. As a result of these mega-feuds, we get lower prices, a plethora of offerings, and high quality products that are immaculately presented and awesome to play with.

Competition forces companies to bring consumers to the forefront, streamline their services, and sharpen their image. Without it, companies reign free and consumers come out second best.

Letting your business grow organically.

Growing your business

This is great news for consumers, but what about the small businesses out there, who don’t have a fund set aside for future litigation and high-budget marketing? How do you beat the competition (which hopefully isn’t one of the four mentioned above)? All businesses, large and small, need to be innovative and unique, offering reasonable prices and high quality products. Know your audience and know what they want. Offer a genuine service and make your consumers a top priority. And just as Virgin does, offer them an experience to remember. Competition is healthy and can break the monopoly and mould.

As a business owner, embrace the spirit of competition, don’t fear it. And as a consumer, rejoice!

In fact, when starting my business I checked out the competition. What I saw was impressive. Too impressive. An editor with a PhD in English Literature, majoring in Neuroscience, with (oh no, it doesn’t stop there) a minor in being an Astronaut, would be editing my travel blog… 

Eezy Breezy Editing offers a fresh approach to editing and proofreading

Eezy Breezy Editing offers a fresh approach to editing and proofreading

Eezy Breezy Editing’s service is editing and proofreading. What we offer is a fresh outlook, lower prices, and attention to detail. Eezy Breezy offers a unique, non-intimidating, and appealing experience, which caters to the needs of our clients. This is not novel or life altering, but it is welcoming. We make editing fun, seriously!

For further information about Eezy Breezy’s service, get in touch or check out our website – eezybreezyediting.com.

Quotes to Inspire… Travel – Part 1

It’s easy to get into a rut, a routine. You work a 9-5 job, you sleep, you eat, you play sport. It becomes mind numbing. Sometimes you feel a longing to do something, like quitting your job and travelling the world or starting up that out there business venture, that doesn’t quite fit with society’s expectations. Perhaps you think it sounds silly if you say it out loud, or you don’t have the encouragement you need so you choose not to pursue it, leaving a large gaping unfulfilled hole in your mind – and soul.

But then you see or read something that triggers a spiritual awakening in you. It makes you stop and think. It gives you a motivational nudge. It could be anything from a striking photograph, words of advice from a friend, or for me, more often than not, an inspirational quote. When you connect with a quote, it is a life force that has the ability to lift you up, take you out of your comfort zone and gravitate you toward your goals, your desires. It inspires you to be different, not to follow the flow, and get you out of your norm. It connects with you.

footprints

footprints

Here are some (a lot, actually) simple yet defining and inspiring travel quotes. A connection to a quote is personal and individual, so some will resonate more with you than others.

The point of these quotes is to wake you up, give you courage, energise you, propel you forward, and to not let people’s views, judgements, or opinions affect how you choose to live your life. If that means walking against the crowds, do it. Mostly though, it is to inspire you to travel :)

So begin, be inspired (to travel)!

PS – I had so many quotes that I am breaking this blog up into two parts. If there are too many quotes in one, you either won’t read them all, or you will and you won’t absorb their true meaning. And by you, I mean me – if I were to be reading this most fabulous blog. 

 “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs (I have a strong connection with this quote, especially. When I read it, I want to do everything I have ever wanted to do and haven’t, all at once). 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Hellen Keller

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.” – Ralph Crawshaw

“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place….” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley Maclaine

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” –  Saint Augustine

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out.” – Daranna Gidel

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

“Travel makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.” - Thomas Fuller

“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

Beautiful Biarritz

Beautiful Biarritz

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”  - Judith Thurman

This is the end of Part 1. Feel even more inspired to quit your job and go travelling for the rest of your life? If not, then I haven’t worked hard enough and I will throw more quotes your way. You will quit your job and go travelling god dammit!

Authentic Dhall

Trying out the local culinary delights is a major source of my travel enjoyment. Eating traditional and authentic food from the country I am travelling through is a must, and bringing home a recipe or two is a shweet bonus. Being able to recreate some of the delicious foods… the smell, the taste… It can not only impress, it can help relive some blissful memories… Aww.

There is no exact science to Indian cooking. The best Indian meals, I find, involve adding a little bit of this, a touch of that. If you accidentally drop in a little too much of one ingredient, no problem!! So don’t get too stressed out when cooking. You can’t go too wrong!

(Disclaimer: As cooking is not an area of her expertise, Simple Thongs cannot be held responsible for making such sweeping statements.)

Here is a scrumptious – and might I add, EASY – recipe for making dhall (lentils). Dhall is a staple food in India. It is a dish that’s generally eaten with either rice or roti. It can be eaten on its own (with the rice or roti), or it can be a great accompaniment to pretty much any dish such as fish, chicken, vegetables… Its flavour isn’t overwhelming so I find that having it with a drier dish is a nice little mix.

Whether I’m having rice or roti, I have a habit of adding a dollop of yoghurt as a side dish and a small amount of achar (Indian pickle). My favourite achars are mango and lime. Some can get prr-itty spicy though!

Please enjoy my mama’s recipe (oh by the way, I AM Indian, so it really is authentic).

DHALL (serves about 2)

(You can use yellow dhall or brown dhall – whatever you want really.)

Image from http://illa-cookingdelights.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/panchmel-dal.html

Mouth watering yellow dhall

Put ½ a cup of lentils into a medium sized pot and add approximately 3x more water than lentils (so in this case it’s 1 and ½ cups).

Put the pot on the stove on high heat, then add:

  • a pinch of salt (can always add more if needed at the end)
  • a pinch of haldi (turmeric) – for colour
  • a small amount of finely cut ginger (or ½ tablespoon if from a jar)
  • a clove of finely cut garlic (or ½ tablespoon if from a jar)
  • around ½ roughly chopped tomato
  • one cut up potato in medium sized squares – only add potatoes if making yellow dhall.

Let it all boil up until it’s fairly thick. Stir occasionally.

While the dhall is boiling away, separately do the tarka (seasoning):

Put onto the stove, on medium heat, a small frying pan and add:

  • ¾ teaspoon of butter (melt it)
  • less than ½ an onion sliced up
  • less than ½ a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

Fry fry fry it up. It’ll sizzle and fly everywhere, but that’s all part of the fun.

Once the dhall is cooked add:

  • the tarka
  • ½ tablespoon of baba masala
  • add some lemon juice too if you want.

Hey presto, you’re done!

If you have any questions, Simple Thongs is here to help :) (please refer to disclaimer).