A Little Linguistic Humor

Have any linguistic jokes to add? Send them to me at ojo@ojohaven.com -ojo

[According to The Internet Oracle Resource Index:

Do you have a difficult dilemma or some problem whose answer eludes you? Do you need advice? The Internet Oracle (formerly "The Usenet Oracle") can help you! Like all famous oracles, The Internet Oracle is omniscient, and will provide you with an answer to your question! In return, the Oracle may require you to perform a small service.....
This is from Internet Oracularities #975, 975-01. -ojo]

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:

> They wanted to hit im and kill im.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Violent envy between words and word forms is not uncommon. As soon as
} ain't was born, am and not vowed to destroy it, soliciting the
} assistance of I'm. Ain't survived only by the assistance of informal
} usage, and to this day is not accepted in formal English. When verb
} had the audacity to declare itself a verb as well as a noun, let alone
} a verb that acts on nouns, a good majority of the parts of speech
} descriptors were in an uproar, including but not limited to noun,
} adjective, adverb, and even participle. And while hoity-toity is just
} about dead of old age, one can't help but suspect foul play. (How one
} got such a notion is beyond me; numbers rarely fraternize with other
} adjectives, particularly silly ones.)
} Contractions continue to be the victims of formism, even after Word War
} II and the Merriam-Webster Treaty. Some, a noted statesword, believes
} formism is dead, and that we live in a kinder, gentler vocabulary.
} Formism is actually being held in an underground dictionary, known as
} the Clue Crux Cant (CCC).
} They has always been strongly opposed to they're, and would,
} subsequently, have similar feelings about I'm. They recently returned
} from a three-year vacation in India, studying Hindi and the rich
} language diversity of the nation. They claims to have experienced rich
} spiritual growth, and is now a strong advocate for abolishing formism.
} They's previous followers and enemies alike are skeptical of they's new
} stance, given they's previous public formist speeches and actions
} against words such as I'm.
} You owe the Oracle word peace.

[William Safire's rules for writing as seen in the New York Times (from Miscellaneous Oxymora Quotations at the wonderful Focusing on Words site.) -ojo]

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
Last, but not least, avoid cliche's like the plague.

[From an email i got from a friend. An apparant rip-off of William Safire's work. -ojo]

Subject: How to write good...

Avoid alliteration. Always.
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)
Employ the vernacular.
Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
Contractions aren't necessary.
Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
One should never generalize.
Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
Be more or less specific.
Understatement is always best.
One-word sentences? Eliminate.
Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
The passive voice is to be avoided.
Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
Who needs rhetorical questions?
Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

[From Jim Maxwell's Quotes of the Week list. -ojo]

Subject: quotes- mixed metaphorage

It's like an Alcatraz around my neck.

--Boston mayor Menino on the shortage of city parking spaces

If you let that sort of thing go on, your bread and butter will be cut right out from under your feet.

--Former British foreign minister Ernest Bevin

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