God's Honest Truth

I'm not Cecil Adams or Barbara Mikkelson but I enjoy bringing truth to the unenlightened or misinformed masses. The two people above represent the two best sources I've found on the web for doing that.

Snopes is a site where David and Barabara Mikkelson debunk (or confirm) urban legends. If there's a claim that you are skeptical of, it is usually a good place to check it out. One of the many oft-heard stories that I doubted was the rumor that sorority houses are prohibited or limited in number by brothel laws. I was happy to be able to use Snopes to show that was not true.

Another site I found recently is The Straight Dope. I don't read the newspaper so some people may already be aware of this, even though I wasn't. Cecil Adams is supposedly the smartest man alive and can answer any question. He has been writing this syndicated column since the 70's where he answer's peoples questions with the mission of fighting ignorance. The webpage is a bit poorly designed. The most useful pages I have found are the archive (scroll down) and special reports which are not actually written by Cecil but a staff.
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Anguished English

I feel I have a very strong connection to the English language. I often, especially when writing, consider very carefully the logical and symantic intricacies of turning thoughts into English words and phrases. I think one of the reasons that foreign languages are so hard for me is that the simple sentences I could learn to use do not compare to the very high level concepts and subtle distictions I can express in English. That's why I thought I'd point out a few of the things I've found interesting about English, common mistakes people make, and some helpful websites.

Back when I was in Stage3, we had an argument at one meeting about what the correct plural of octopus is. At the next meeting Dennis had done some research and provided us with the answer. While many people think that octopi is the plural, this is in fact the most incorrect answer. As we all know, the standard plural in Enlish involves adding s at the end. Of course, many words in English are inherited from other languages which lead to all the exceptions to this rule where the plural is also inherited. Latin is the source of many English words and there are some, like fungus, where the -us ending is pluralized as -i. Octopus is not one of them. Latin nouns are seperated into 5 groups, called declensions, which have different endings and different plurals. The rule above that we are most familar with is the rule for 2nd declension, but Octopus, originally from Greek origin, is a 3rd declesion noun in Latin. The correct Latin plural would be Octopodes

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Keywords:English | Quirks | Rants | Truth
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