Category Archives: Words

Grammar Nazis

Don’t you just hate those people who hound you for using improper grammar at the most ridiculous times? Why does it matter if you write “go get you’re calorie-laden ice cream” or “Thomass posts are so lame”? I’m confident that you’ll get your message across, even if you do misuse your participles and gerunds. It’s no surprise that Grammar Nazis are viewed as pretentious and unhelpful human beings.

The title isn't italicized! It's in quotation marks! It burns!

Well, I’m one of them.

I don’t claim to be an especially knowledgeable person when it comes to the English language, and yet, I can’t help myself from correcting errors I see. Everywhere. Whether it be my nine-year-old cousin stating that she’s “good” instead of “well”, or when my friend texts me saying “you “dont” have any real friends” as opposed to “you “don’t” have any real friends”, I feel this urge to fix their grammatical mistakes.

I haven’t always been like this. Several years ago, when I first joined Goodreads, my reviews was horrible. I literally cringe whenever I read my earlier reviews, solely because my grammar was so bad. Now I am careful to utilize the correct “your, you’re”, or “they’re, their, there”. I still make the occasional mistake, but their they’re happening less frequently now.

There are a few reasons that I transformed into a Grammar Nazi. One reason is that I’ve been learning more about writing and how to write well by attending school and taking Honors and AP English courses. Another reason is that I love to read and write. I entrench myself in amazing books, so I hope my own writing should improve as a result. Although there was that one incident…

I walk into my Latin class, expecting another fun-filled lesson about subjunctives and indirect statements.

“How are you doing, Thomas?” my Latin teacher asks.

“I’m good, thanks, how are you?” I say.

“You’re not good,” my Latin teacher replies.

Oh, snap, I think to myself, what have I done? Did I fail that test last class? I’ve done all of my homework this entire year! Could he be referring to that time when I was three-years-old and wrote on the walls with marker? Calm down, deep breaths, deep breaths

I stare at him.

“You’re well,” he says,” remember what we learned about adjectives and adverbs? You cannot be good, you can be well.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m well, thank you for correcting me,” I say. He doesn’t know about the marker, whew…

After having my Latin teacher correct me numerous times, I now always say that I am “well”. I suppose classical conditioning in a sense can support your use of proper grammar – if you’re always around people who use it, or if you’re constantly corrected by Grammar Nazis like me, then your own grammar will improve. It’s a win-win situation.

What do you think of Grammar Nazis? Do you dislike them, or are you one of them? I left a grammar mistake in this post on purpose, see if you can find it! Now I’m slightly afraid people will point out things that I thought were correct…

I really need to catch up on my reading, so, see you guys next post!


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Effective Methods to Study SAT Vocab

Can you guess what that sheet of paper is on my treadmill? See #2…

Not all of us possess a penchant for utilizing intellectual vocabulary to perforate the SAT. Most people don’t. You can get every single vocabulary question on the reading section of the SAT incorrect and still score above a 600. However, knowing your vocab will help you out tremendously.

I’m aware that memorizing SAT Vocab is not the most titillating activity, but there are ways to reduce the tedium of it. Here are some methods I use that I don’t even have to think twice about. If I come across any other ideas I’ll add them to this post, and if you have your own study practices, please feel free to share!

1. Make lists. The totally untrained individual would study SAT vocab by randomly looking at words from his Princeton Review book when he has the chance. That’s not a bad thing, but it won’t help you as much as constructing a list. If you have time before the test, twenty words a week is good. If you don’t, maybe ten per day depending on how strong your memory is. You can type the list, but writing it will help you retain the meaning of the words more. Some people prefer to study words with similar meanings (aka, synonyms) at the same time. Here’s a great resource if you’re looking for words that frequently appear on the test.

2. Study your list… Everywhere. So you have your list, great. But when will you get the chance to sit down and study it? You would be surprised – there are many unexpected opportunities throughout the day you can take advantage of. Copy the list onto your IPod or cell phone and scan it every time you change songs or send a text. Bring your list with you while you work out at the gym (see my awesome treadmill up there?) Tape the list onto your wall if you have to. Just remember to constantly check it whenever you can.

3. Read, read, read. Read. A lot. It doesn’t have to be the New York Times or Frankenstein (though those are quite beneficial), but books that you’ll enjoy. As you’re reading, look up every word you don’t know. Not only will that ameliorate your vocabulary, but it’ll develop your writing skills as well. Guess who learned the word “irrevocable” from the book jacket of Twilight?

4. Use your words. Now that you know the words, apply them. An easy way to do this is to look back at old lists and write a sentence for each word – you can even create a short story if you want. If you want to take it a step further you can start incorporating your vocabulary into your everyday writing and conversations. Be careful with that though, as people may presume that you’re being pretentious.

It seems like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. I’m currently a rising junior in high school and I’ve used these tips since the beginning of sophomore year. They do help. In May I took the SAT and received a decent score on the reading section – a 730. I only got one vocab question wrong, and the word I didn’t know is permanently embedded into my brain: “mawkishness”.

Good luck! If you need a place to start, you can begin by looking up every word in this post you didn’t know. (;

Edit May 24, 2012: I took the SAT again in March this year, and received an 800 on the Critical Reading section! I memorized around 400 vocab words, if that may serve as an indication as to how important it is to know lots of words.


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Fanfaronade (noun): Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this word was:

The “fan” part. Followed by…

The “faronade” part, which reminded me of serenade, which reminded me of something related to Giant that you shouldn’t be aware of unless you know me.

My mind is a scary place to be.

“Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty” – Mark Twain.

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An Addiction to Myriad

Myriad (noun): a very great or indefinitely great number of persons or things.

I wish I had the “myriad” of books pictured above. Instead, I only have this…

I know, it’s horrible. I am supposedly a bibliophile, so I should have garnered more books by now… great, I have another word that is the opposite of myriad, but still starts with an m. Meager! Like my meager supply of books. Gr.

Back to the topic, I have been over-utilizing the word myriad lately. (Side note: it can also be an adjective). Here’s how a typical conversation involving the word myriad goes…

Me: Did you study for our math test today?

Friend: What!? No! We have a test today!?

Me: Yes. You should have seen the myriad of things I did to prepare. I practiced a plentiful – wait, no, a MYRIAD of proofs.

Friend: Oh no… I’m going to fail!

Me: Don’t fret. There are a myriad of things you can do to help your grade recover.

Friend: …


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Disaffected (adjective): Having lost faith or loyalty; discontent.

“Depression is the inability to construct a future.” – Rollo May

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Vacillate (verb): to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute.

Being indecisive encompasses a whole lot of my life. Which college to go to? What major should I choose? Should I take honors pre-calc or not? Can my stomach afford that last piece of pie?

Notice how three of the four examples mentioned above were concerning school. Winter break starts tomorrow! Woo (:

Today was an okay day. I’m not sure whether is was good or bad – on one hand, I got an A on my geometry test, on the other, it didn’t help my grade too much. I sort of understand my geometry project, but I also am scared that I am doing it incorrectly. Hm.

Vacillate sounds like Vaseline… speaking of Vaseline, I wonder whether there is such a thing as applying TOO much Vaseline. Should I cut back? My skin is dry, maybe I need to put more…

Maybe I should have put this in the personal section. Then again, I am defining vacillate.

“Indecision is like a stepchild: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting water.” African Proverb.


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Perseverance (noun): steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Today, I was rejected.

To some, rejection is an everyday occurrence. Rejection from a friend who didn’t like your Christmas present, rejection from a teacher who didn’t enjoy reading your essay, rejection from a family member who is disappointed that you forgot to do the dishes. To others, rejection is much more. It is the building of one’s dreams, hopes, and aspirations – all piled up into a heap so humongous that it blots everything else out – and then having that heap crushed, that perfect image perforated so that nothing remains but a vast emptiness.

The word of the day is not “rejection”, though. It is Perseverance. Perseverance is the strength to move on from rejection, learning from it and making yourself stronger because of it. Without rejection, perseverance would not exist. And vice versa.

I’ve learned that it is healthy – essential, even- to get beat down. To get the wind knocked out of you so harshly that all you can think of is how you’re going to live with yourself until tomorrow. So when you do realize how you’re going to live, and how you’re going to remain living – that is the power of perseverance coming to save you from rejection. It is an amazing, empowering feeling.

Today, I was rejected, and I am happy.

‎”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve heard about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost.


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