Posted by: David | April 1, 2010

April Fool Ish Ness

A friend of mine used to say “Common sense is not that common”. Boy was he ever right.

Rule Zero: There are exceptions to every rule, except this rule.


Oliver got his Spring clipping the other day and his various shots today.

Nobody April Fooled me today. That I know of. I did get to have lunch with a special friend whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. That was almost too nice to be real, especially as the sun returned to our skies after being gone for a week.

The garlic is getting along well. Survived the dip to 15Β°F last week.

My wife potted up a lot of seedlings today. We’re both catching colds.



  1. These are photos to make one happy (if one were not).

    Does one really say “colds” in the plural if there are more than one catching “them”? I have seen that in English they use “head” in the plural if there are several people losing “them”: they lost their heads. That sounds so strange that I would try to avoid it. Another example is “wife” in the plural: “They came with their wives” like the Sheiks in Marbella, Spain, deploying their collection of European female enrollments.

    And do you get “here there be” in your blog’s listing of the search keys: “here there be monster octopus”?

    Thank you cantueso. I hope they help make you happy.

    ‘My wife and I are both catching a cold’ just didn’t sound right. But now that I say it again it sounds better. As always, I trust your grammar much more than my own. πŸ™‚

  2. No, I do think that the plural is right, but sounds strange to me because I don’t have “an ear” in English. I simply know or don’t know, and if I don’t know have to google to see what gets more hits.

    Now, recently, I have become allergic to “just because………doesn’t mean”. Even if this became mainstream and accepted, I would consider it stupid. It is used to avoid the clumsy “The fact that… doesn’t mean”.

    Anyway, remember, English grammar, unlike Spanish or German grammar, is not what is called “normative”. The dictionaries sometimes say “substandard”, but rarely “right” or “wrong”, because in English there is no central language authority to issue binding rules. In Spanish there is a Royal Academy set up and paid to do only that: make the norms to keep the language clean.

    Did you take out the red photo of the trays with the little plants? I took a copy for myself, but why did you take yours out?

    I might use the photo…… πŸ™‚ to write to a cousin of mine that I have not seen or heard of for several years and don’t get along with. Now all of a sudden he wrote to ask me how I was.

    I hate that sort of thing. So I was wondering how to make the obligatory answer sound friendly and nice and jovial and off-the-cuff and then I thought that your sunny photo would just come in handy. — As stated before, I have the copy, but why did you take out yours?

    If only I was fluent in more than one language, then I might not be so surprised by your claim of no ear for English. But then, all I know of your English is what you write, which is so very clear, concise, and hardly ever betrays your mother tongue.

    I’m glad you liked the photo I posted first, and yes I did change it. Why did you call it red? The clay pots? I took it at night, and then took some more the next day in the sunlight, which I thought looked better. I’m flattered that a photo of mine will be of help to you in communication with your estranged cousin. I guess there is irony in that the “sunny” photo was taken at night. πŸ™‚

  3. Google:

    Results 1 – 10 of about 7,110,000 for “they lost their heads”.

    Results 1 – 10 of about 2,630,000 for “they lost their head”.

    According to what I was taught, majority use is what counts in English. For foreigners this is most interesting “to behold” as in theory it would all of its own tend to make class differences less relevant. Educated speech would not necessarily become more influential. And indeed there is even a tendency for the educated to imitate illiterate speech : ain’t — whatcha — gonna

    Hmmm. It sounds kitschy to me when it reflects the speaker’s choice, not his background.
    I am very sorry WordPress uses the “whatcha” even in its self-advertising spaces.

    What a fascinatingly logical usage of Google! I am frequently guilty of this type of kitschy speech myself. I wonder if it’s a side effect of our previous plainspoken president. Usually this sort of thing is frightening, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, but I come by some of this tendency very honestly. I was a parent to a child with Down Syndrome and a significant delay in speech development. There was a lot of daily work in figuring out how to completely simplify each sentence. Distilling the thought behind the language is the job of the audience, and getting caught on mis-spoken words is usually an obstacle.

    Add to that my normal disregard for formality and rules. I find kitschy language to be entirely harmless unless it reveals ignorance, in which case it is repellent.

  4. “However, just because this website provides several modules does not mean it is responsible for their accuracy.”

    Just because I have just seen it twice in an hour does not mean it looks any better to me.

    Eek. That is some tortured syntax, ain’t it? I wonder what modules they might be? Guess they’re not holistic modules, are they?

  5. Not to betray my mothertongue, but to show off its famous syntax, here come some English sentences with German word order:

    If I the cookie seen had, so would I it eaten have, but I saw the cookie, which on the kitchen table was, not. It must a very good cookie been be. Generally, like I cookies however not. Have you the cookie for me there put?

    I hope that you not think this be messy or arbitrary. That were an entirely erroneous conclusion.

    Uff! That was not easy to do. Do you know Mark Twain once wrote “The Awful German Language” and it came out very funny.

    That was funny! I especially liked “which on the kitchen table was, not.” There is nothing like a comma and a space for emphasis. For that strenuous effort, sincerely, I thank you! πŸ™‚

  6. I haven’t seen the “just because” trap anymore recently, and maybe it didn’t after all catch on.

    What seems to be staying for good is the “different than/to/from” trap, and yet the problem would be the same with many adjectives followed by a preposition:

    This is a similar house to my sister’s.
    This is a separate story from yesterday’s.
    This is an equal situation to what you get in Afghanistan.
    Here is an interested man in the car that you are selling.

    All errors which often I make. More than I ought. To.

    ‘Just because’ is alive and well in spoken American English, if not written.

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