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Word Maven Patricia T. O’Conner

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Word maven Patricia T. O'Conner answers your questions about the English language. Today she's focusing on how we count the number of words in our language. Call us at 212-433-9692, or leave a comment below. Patricia T. O’Conner’s Grammarphobia website

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Patricia T. O'Conner

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Comments [87]

Rob from Brooklyn

From WikiPedia:

"Factoid was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. Mailer described a factoid as "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper"[2], and created the word by combining the word fact and the ending -oid to mean "like a fact". The Washington Times described Mailer's new word as referring to "something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact".[3]"

Feb. 20 2009 09:24 AM
Alex Smith from nyc

ms oconnor know that hooha now also means vagina perhaps hoopla would be a better term to use for commmotion/uproar

Feb. 18 2009 04:51 PM
Alan S. Godber from Milltown, New Jersey

Kick the Bucket, discussed on today's program.

Listed as slang, but was very commonly used when I lived in the UK from 1936 to 1968.

My Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1973) lists as follows: Bucket, sb,2 1570 (year listed). [perhaps - Old French. buquet 'balance'.] A beam or yoke on which anything may be hung, as in Norfolk, a pig by its heels. Hence ( ?) To kick the bucket: (slang) to die.

Feb. 18 2009 03:08 PM
Al

I just googled "Patricia T. O’Conner", and Google responded with "Did you mean: Patricia T. O’Connor" with an "o-r" rather than an "e-r". Why is that?

Feb. 18 2009 02:51 PM
Ruth from Manhattan

Regarding the men's store, the answer Ms O'Connor referred to mens or mans (without aporstrophe) as an adjectival usage. How, then, does she explain the "s" at the end of this adjective?

Feb. 18 2009 02:29 PM
Liz from Manhattan

My pet peeve is: When a radio interviewer ends his segment with the words...'see you tomorrow.'

Leonard, I love you. I listen to you everyday, but you have never seen me, and I doubt that you will really ever 'see' me tomorrow.

You usually keep your words on your toes; I'd think that you'd have a more accurate way of signing off.

I'll listen to you again tomorrow, with my pet peeves and all.

liz

Feb. 18 2009 02:23 PM
Tanya from Hazlet,New Jersey

While standing in a line, I hate to hear "Can I help who's next?"! Please say "May I help the next person?" or even "Next"!

Feb. 18 2009 02:14 PM
Axel Dougan from Keyport, NJ

"Gin up" (Rich Schmedel above) - I thought this was "Chin up" - lift your head, be positive, don't mope.

Feb. 18 2009 02:12 PM
Erica Cardozo from New York City

That's it, I can never fully trust Pat O'Connor again. This so-called language maven uttered the term "hoo-ha" (shiver), instead of "hoopla," not once, but twice! What the heck is "hoo-ha" anyway? Isn't that slang for a female body part ("Scent of a Woman")? Very disappointed. What is the word coming to?

Feb. 18 2009 02:11 PM
Al

Thanks for responding to the "kick the bucket" question–how sinister!

Feb. 18 2009 02:11 PM
Tanya from New Jersey

Alba - your comment about dilemna made me laugh. I can remember telling my fifth grade teacher that that was the way to spell it. I was adamant, and KNEW that I was right. I had her completely rattled that day, and I was shocked when I went home and saw it spelled "dilemma" in the dictionary.
I have always been a voracious reader, so I suppose I may have seen it in a book or something. Maybe it was some kind of optical illusion, reading the word quickly? What I do know, is that I know how to spell that word now.

Feb. 18 2009 02:09 PM
Axel Dougan from Keyport, NJ

1. Why so dismissive of the term "free radicals"? It has a very concise meaning in chemistry (Wikipedia definition below). I think it's unfortunate when very concise scientific terms enter common usage and lose their meaning.

Wikipedia: "In chemistry, radicals (often referred to as free radicals) are atoms, molecules or ions with unpaired electrons on an otherwise open shell configuration. These unpaired electrons are usually highly reactive, so radicals are likely to take part in chemical reactions.)

2. What is the fascination with "incentivise". Isn't "incent" enough?

Feb. 18 2009 02:08 PM
Rich from Queens

It irks me to hear car ads which state that financing is available to "well-qualified buyers" instead of simply "qualified buyers"!

Feb. 18 2009 02:01 PM
Aveen Stephenson from NYC

I beg to differ on Men's Store. Men is plural and is therefore very different to girl which is singular. There is nothing correct about mens and therefore the caller was correct when he stated that correct usage must be Men's store. Mens store, or mens' store is incorrect.

Feb. 18 2009 02:01 PM
John Celardo from Fanwood, NJ

From: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/218800.html

The wooden frame that was used to hang animals up by their feet for slaughter was called a bucket. Not unnaturally they were likely to struggle or to spasm after death and hence 'kick the bucket'.

Feb. 18 2009 01:59 PM
Jennifer from Clinton Hill

"check my email," why it's not plural...I think it refers to checking your email account.

Kick the Bucket...I just googled this and it says that it refers to someone committing suicide, to kick the bucket before hanging yourself on a noose! Interesting.

Feb. 18 2009 01:58 PM
Tanya from New Jersey

I hear many people say "concerning me" these days, versus "concerns me". My son's grades concern me - I worry about the downward slide. My son may to a friend when looking at his report card "This is concerning me" About me. I hear people say things like "Troop reduction is concerning me." If you are in the military, it concerns you. Otherwise, it doesn't. Shouldn't they say it concerns me or it bothers or worries me ?

Feb. 18 2009 01:58 PM
Rand Aspinwall from hamilton square, nj

Whenever I here the hesitation "you know", and I hear it frequently even on NPR, I want to scream, "NO I DON'T KNOW! THAT IS WHY I AM ASKING YOU!"

Feb. 18 2009 01:58 PM
stacy from nyc

Leonard --

Kick the Bucket Origin:

Years ago, when people were put to death by hanging, to reach the noose, they'd step up onto a bucket.

They were officially DEAD their limbs swung loosely....and kicked the bucket!

Feb. 18 2009 01:58 PM
Julia from NYC

I thought the expression "kick the bucket" was tied to executions by hanging. A person to be hanged would stand on a bucket, step, etc. and then it would be moved/kicked from beneath them.

Not sure where I got this from or if it's true!

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
Rich Schmedel from Ramsey, New Jersey

I enjoy listening to this segment and wish that Patricia had more time to spend with us.

My question is about the phrase "Gin Up". My understanding is that it is a pejorative phrase implying that the purpose of the action is to mislead or distract the observer's attention from something wrong or incorrect. Now I hear it used to suggest drumming up business or interest.

Which is correct?

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
Bo from Brooklyn

from Bartleby:

A bucket is a pulley, and in Norfolk a beam. When pigs are killed, they are hung by their hind-legs on a bucket or beam, with their heads downwards, and oxen are hauled up by a pulley. To kick the bucket is to be hung on the balk or bucket by the heels

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
danielle from upper west side - the suburbs

where did the expression "one off" come from . I started seeing it afew years ago and first thought it was a typo for "one of" as in 'one of a kind" because that is often its meaning. I even heard a reporter say it describing an actresses gown. Did the invention of this phrase just escape me.

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
james from caroll gardens

re: kick the bucket

Etymology There are many theories as to where this idiom comes from, but the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) discusses the following:

A person standing on a pail or bucket with their head in a slip noose would kick the bucket so as to commit suicide. The OED, however, says this is mainly speculative;
The OED describes as more plausible the archaic use of "bucket" as a beam from which a pig is hung by its feet prior to being slaughtered. To kick the bucket, then, originally signified the pig's death throes;
Another explanation is given by a Roman Catholic Bishop, The Right Reverend Abbot Horne, F.S.A. He records on page 6 of his booklet "Relics of Popery" Catholic Truth Society London, 1949, the following:

"After death, when a body had been laid out, … and … the holy-water bucket was brought from the church and put at the feet of the corpse. When friend came to pray… they would sprinkle the body with holy water .. it is easy to see how such a saying as " kicking the bucket " came about. Many other explanations of this saying have been given by persons who are unacquainted with Catholic custom"

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
Joe from USA

What are the origins of the expressions
"Mexican stand off" and "Chinese fire drill" and why is there always an expletive before Chinese?

Feb. 18 2009 01:57 PM
Shawn willis from Brooklyn

Always curious about the usage of bring/ take.

For example, I'll take you you home/ I'll bring you home.
Or I'll take this package to him/ I'll bring this package to him.

Thanks!!

Shawn

Feb. 18 2009 01:56 PM
sandra from brooklyn

what is the correct pronunciation of the word "biopic"? i've noticed WNYC hosts prefer 'buy-OH-pik' but i've always said 'buy-AH-pik'. can you clarify?

Feb. 18 2009 01:56 PM
Wendy from Brooklyn

I know this is horrible, but could"kick the bucket" come from hangings (kicking the bucket out from under someone)?

Feb. 18 2009 01:56 PM
Sara from Ridgewood

I though it was about hanging and kicking the bucket underneath.

Origin

We all know what a bucket is - and so this phrase appears rather odd. Why should kicking one be associated with dying?

The link between buckets and death was made by at least 1785, when the phrase was defined in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

"To kick the bucket, to die."

One theory as to why, albeit with little evidence to support it, is that the phrase originates from the notion that people hanged themselves by standing on a bucket with a noose around their neck and then kicking the bucket away. There are no citations that relate the phrase to suicide and, in any case, why a bucket? Whenever I've needed something to stand on I can't recall ever opting for a bucket. This theory doesn't stand up any better than the supposed buckets did.

The mist begins to clear with the fact that in 16th century England bucket had an additional meaning (and in some parts it still has), i.e. a beam or yoke used to hang or carry items. The term may have been introduced into English from the French trébuchet - meaning a balance, or buque - meaning a yoke. That meaning of bucket was referred to in Peter Levins' Manipulus vocabulorum. A dictionarie of English and Latine wordes, 1570:

"A Bucket, beame, tollo."

and was used by Shakespeare in Henry IV Part II, 1597:

"Swifter then he that gibbets on the Brewers Bucket." [to gibbet meant to hang]

The wooden frame that was used to hang animals up by their feet for slaughter was called a bucket. Not unnaturally they were likely to struggle or to spasm after death and hence 'kick the bucket'.

Feb. 18 2009 01:56 PM
Marco from New York

Kick the bucket: people were sometimes hanged by having them stand on an overurned bucket...which was then kicked away.

Feb. 18 2009 01:56 PM
Bryce from Manhattan

As an architect, it annoys me to hear such phrases as "the architect of the Iraq war surge"

Feb. 18 2009 01:55 PM
justin from NYC

Meaning

To die.

Origin

We all know what a bucket is - and so this phrase appears rather odd. Why should kicking one be associated with dying?

The link between buckets and death was made by at least 1785, when the phrase was defined in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

"To kick the bucket, to die."

One theory as to why, albeit with little evidence to support it, is that the phrase originates from the notion that people hanged themselves by standing on a bucket with a noose around their neck and then kicking the bucket away. There are no citations that relate the phrase to suicide and, in any case, why a bucket? Whenever I've needed something to stand on I can't recall ever opting for a bucket. This theory doesn't stand up any better than the supposed buckets did.

The mist begins to clear with the fact that in 16th century England bucket had an additional meaning (and in some parts it still has), i.e. a beam or yoke used to hang or carry items. The term may have been introduced into English from the French trébuchet - meaning a balance, or buque - meaning a yoke. That meaning of bucket was referred to in Peter Levins' Manipulus vocabulorum. A dictionarie of English and Latine wordes, 1570:

"A Bucket, beame, tollo."

and was used by Shakespeare in Henry IV Part II, 1597:

"Swifter then he that gibbets on the Brewers Bucket." [to gibbet meant to hang]

The wooden frame that was used to hang animals up by their feet for slaughter was called a bucket. Not unnaturally they were likely to struggle or to spasm after death and hence 'kick the bucket'.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

Feb. 18 2009 01:55 PM
Jo

I figure that starting a sentence with "So" is a bit like starting with "Anyway"(or--gag--"anyways") as if the speaker had been interrupted (perhaps by ME!) and he had more, and more important, things to say. Perhaps it's an attempt to put the listener at ease, as if he/she had been in on the previous conversation. It seems to be a Facebook/IM/young person affectation, too.

Feb. 18 2009 01:54 PM
Tara from east harlem

I have noticed the word, "impacted," being used frequently in interviews, in the workplace, etc. As in, "I was impacted by ...." Isn't the proper word effected? All I can think of when the word "impacted" is used is constipation, which is not a nice image. Impacted drives me crazy!

Feb. 18 2009 01:54 PM
Carol from Manhattan

My pet peeve is hearing people say mischievous as "mischievious"... why do they do that?

Feb. 18 2009 01:53 PM
Alice from Manhattan

Al Gore danced the Macarena, the group dance craze that appeared circa 1996, not the Lambada.

Also, I work with a lot of British people who use "firstly," "secondly," ... "lastly" very often.

Feb. 18 2009 01:53 PM
Nate from Seattle

Why has "At the end of the day..." come into such popular use in recent times as a way to wrap up a point? Even Journalists use it. It is such a literary and conversational cop out in my opinion.

Feb. 18 2009 01:53 PM
Jason from Midtown

pet peeve: when people use the word 'anxious' to mean 'eager.' i rarely ever hear someone use the word 'anxious' properly anymore.

Feb. 18 2009 01:51 PM
Lisa from Brooklyn

I have been corrected when saying "Anyways" when trying to change the topic and am told that that word does not exist and that I should be using "Anyway". Which is correct? Both or neither?

Feb. 18 2009 01:50 PM
Jim from NYC

Hey David Kaplan from New Jersey who wrote "I was criticized for using too many hyphens, which I thought appropriately used to denote a pause longer than a comma." If you were using hyphens, you were correctly criticized. They should never be used in that way. Maybe you meant em-dashes, which are often ok.

Feb. 18 2009 01:49 PM
James A. McDaniel from Brooklyn

I heard it through the Grapevide.

There is a restaurant in New York that has an article on the wall that says it was called "the Grapevine" and it was a favorite hang out or artists and the like. So when people would say that they heard it through the grapevine They were referring to that pub. Everything I read says that the term came from Telegraph from civil war.

Feb. 18 2009 01:48 PM
M from Staten Island

Your guests often call in and say "what i wanted to say was" or "my question was"... which seems a silly way to introduce a question that still is...

Feb. 18 2009 01:48 PM
Eve from Staten Island

A speaker -- an English teacher -- said "We are Acme Company, and Acme Company is we.” Shouldn't that have been "Acme Company is us?"

Or is the use of "we" in this example actually correct? Is so, why? And is there a way to construct a sentence like this so that the use of the word "we" would be correct?

Thanks!

Feb. 18 2009 01:48 PM
Joseph from Manhattan

Who gets to set the rules for American English useage?

Feb. 18 2009 01:47 PM
Brianne from Harlem

The Staples Catalog in my office has the section of mouses labeled 'mice'

Feb. 18 2009 01:47 PM
Maria from Brooklyn, NY

Whoops, apparently CH had the same idea as I did.

Here's another thing: why do people combine "a lot" into one word, "alot"? This is incorrect in every instance, right?

Feb. 18 2009 01:47 PM
maggie from morristown nj

OK, here's my peeve: general consensus or consensus of opinion are rearing their ugly heads even among very educated people. I hear it often on NPR. Consensus means general opinion, and its misuse used to be about as unacceptable as irregardless.
I know it's hopeless to fight these things, but I hate seeing a really useful concise word get ravaged. (Look whar happened to momentarily. )

Feb. 18 2009 01:46 PM
markBrown from markbnj.blogspot.com

mouse vs MICE

In 25 years in the computer industry I have OFTEN upgraded the MICE in my user's computers.

I have NEVER replaced the mouses in their computers.

Feb. 18 2009 01:46 PM
Al

Does anyone know where the phrase "kicking the bucket" came from?

Feb. 18 2009 01:45 PM
Diego from Flushing

Hi,

I've heard at least two different pronunciations for the word banal -bahnal, bey-nal...

Which is correct? Thanks!

Feb. 18 2009 01:45 PM
anonyme

I meant to say where did we break from Brits (and Canadians) who say "different to" instead of "different from"

Feb. 18 2009 01:45 PM
Alba from Manhattan

When I was younger, I can recall being taught to spell 'dilemna' not 'dilemma'. Am I remembering incorrectly? The spelling I find prevalent is the latter and I always find myself silently correcting what I believe to be typos. Please end my confusion. Thank you.

P.S. You are one the most enjoyable guests on WNYC.

Feb. 18 2009 01:44 PM
Maria from Brooklyn, NY

Re: jingo -- EtymOnline.com has this to say:

"As an asseveration, it was in colloquial use since 1694, and is apparently yet another euphemism for Jesus, influenced by conjurer's gibberish presto-jingo (1670). The suggestion that it somehow derives from Basque Jinko "god" is "not impossible," but "as yet unsupported by evidence" [OED]."

Feb. 18 2009 01:43 PM
Famous Ray from NYC

Why do NYC'ers say "a pizza pie" while elsewhere the whole pie is simply referred to as a "pizza"?

Feb. 18 2009 01:43 PM
Bryan from Mahwah, NJ

My wife sometimes uses the phrase "any more" in a way that always sounds funny to me. I'm used to hearing it used in a "negative" context i.e., "we don't go to that store any more", while she uses it a "positive" context, "I always forget my car keys any more". Seems to a kind of be positive vs. negative use, but the positive use sounds very strange to me. What is the correct use? Is it just a regional thing?

Feb. 18 2009 01:42 PM
CH from Staten Island

"Jingo" etymology possibilities:
(http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=jingo&searchmode=none,)

jingo
"mindless, gung-ho patriot," 1878, picked up from the refrain of a music hall song written by G.W. Hunt supporting aggressive British policy toward Russia at a time of international tension. ("We don't want to fight, But by Jingo! if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, We've got the money too.") As an asseveration, it was in colloquial use since 1694, and is apparently yet another euphemism for Jesus, influenced by conjurer's gibberish presto-jingo (1670). The suggestion that it somehow derives from Basque Jinko "god" is "not impossible," but "as yet unsupported by evidence" [OED].

Feb. 18 2009 01:42 PM
tom from qns

"Soft soaping" Have you heard this one before. My grandfather would use it to characterize someone who is trying to pursuade with slippery B.S. As in, "he was soft-soaping me with all that jargon"

Feb. 18 2009 01:42 PM
Marianne from New York

"Different than" (rather than "different from") followed by a noun rather than a clause is now an epidemic, spreading rapidly. I wish Patricia would be more prescriptive rather than just saying, "Change happens."

That "r" on the end of words ending in "a" is a Boston accent, I believe. I think it is also common in some British English. As a child I had a Bostonian friend named Donna whose mother would yell, "Donner, come in for dinner."

Feb. 18 2009 01:41 PM
George from Manhattan

"Online" versus "In line..."

When I'm waiting to be served at the bank or at Starbucks, I'm one of the minority who believes that I'm in line as opposed to "online." There is a line of people in which I'm standing. There is not a line painted on the floor "on which" I'm standing.

Am I correct?

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
derek from NYC

Please ask about LAY vs. LIE. Everybody says "I'm going to lay down" but that ain't correct, right?

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
maggie from morristown nj

Along the lines of a couple of: I also remember my parents and grandparents saying "a dozen of eggs," whish seems to have been universally replaced by "a dozen eggs."

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
zen from ny

When will people find the pronounciation of "ask" as "axe" as being unacceptable? Why is it that I am hearing " axe you , axe you "

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
Judith Targove from Highland Park, NJ

I always hear "vulnerable" pronounced "vunnerable". Is this correct pronounciation?

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
Rob from Brooklyn

"Factoid"! This one drives me crazy! Her new book is of "factoids," in the correct sense: facts that are generally considered true but are not. It is NOT a small fact. Consider "humanoid" v. "human." Patricia then used the word both correctly and incorrectly in the next sentence.

Or maybe I'm wrong and my use of factoid is my use of factoid.

Feb. 18 2009 01:40 PM
Janet from Manhattan

Why have people started saying "ahead of" instead of "before?"

Feb. 18 2009 01:39 PM
mary from Murry Hill

How about "supposedly" often pronounced with a "b" instead of a "d" thus being pronounce - "supposably"

Feb. 18 2009 01:39 PM
Vinny from from the Upper West Side

not wanting to "be hating",
but do I ever hate the phrase :
"...having said that..."

Feb. 18 2009 01:39 PM
Cosmo Lee from Brooklyn

"Absolutely!" isn't so odd, it's just our current version of "Indeed!", "Certainly!", etc.

Feb. 18 2009 01:39 PM
zen from ny

Im curious about the use of " an" as in "an historic event" I always thought it was "a historic event " I thought an was only used before a vowel.

Feb. 18 2009 01:39 PM
nancy gluck from west long branch, nj

one of my pet peeves is the all-too-common mispronounciation of the word "realtor." most of the time, you hear it pronounced "re-LA-tor"

Feb. 18 2009 01:38 PM
Karol from Hoboken

Which is correct: "bored of" or "bored with"?

Feb. 18 2009 01:38 PM
Daniel from Munich

What's the difference between "a" and "per"? (E.g. 5 miles _per_ hour, a dime _a_ dozen.)

Feb. 18 2009 01:36 PM
anonyme

But then teh Brits say "different to"!!!

Feb. 18 2009 01:36 PM
Frank di Gregorio from New York

The way to remember this is:

There is a "jewel" in jewelry

Feb. 18 2009 01:36 PM
Jason from Midtown

My high school biology teacher always pronounced words ending in "a" with an "er" pronounciation. for instance, she called ameobas 'ameebers.' she would also reverse this, by pronouncing words ending in 'er' with an 'a' for example: she is my fitness trainuh.

whats up with that?

Feb. 18 2009 01:35 PM
Matteo

Why do so many people pronounce "idea" IDEA-R, with an "r" at the end?
it sounds horrible, even to an Italian!

Feb. 18 2009 01:34 PM
Francis from Corning, NY

Patricia made the allegation that the grade level ratings were political, but politicians in fact construct their speeches for as low a grade level as possible, so as to appeal to as large a section of the population as possible. The 10nth grade level rating achieved by Palin is actually an undesirable thing, as it lends itself to misunderstanding by many people. Thanks.

Feb. 18 2009 01:34 PM
David Kaplan from New Jersey

I'm in a writing group. After submitting a story, I was criticized for using too many hyphens, which I thought appropriately used to denote a pause longer than a comma.

Reading essays by Willaim Styron I found eleven hyphens on two consecutive pages.

What is appropriate?

Feb. 18 2009 01:34 PM
Sara from Ridgewood

I saw a commercial last night and the following was said "you can send e-mail from Spain." Is it email or emails? Mail is singular and plural (right?) but is it different for email?

Feb. 18 2009 01:33 PM
ezra from harlem

Patricia-

Can we please please call for the demise of "oftentimes."
It's not a word. Or, at least, it wasn't a word.
"often" works just fine.
People say it constantly.. Save some of that breath!

Feb. 18 2009 01:32 PM
Joan Adler from Brooklyn, NY

When did the word "veteran" become "vetrin"? I hear if all the time including NPR journalists.

Feb. 18 2009 01:30 PM
Laura from NYC

Can you recommend a book that will help me understand Shakespearean English?

Thanks.

Feb. 18 2009 01:28 PM
Richard Lohr from NYC

Have you discussed this before? The "reason why" seems to be commonly used, but surely it should either be "the reason" or "why". Example: That was the reason I did it. or That was why I did it.

Thanks for the great show.

Feb. 18 2009 01:26 PM
Joel from Edgewater, NJ

I went to "the" prom in high school and now it seems to me that people simply go to prom. What happened to "the"?

Feb. 18 2009 12:12 PM
Joel from Edgewater, NJ

I've been wondering what happened to "a" when referring to conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Pharmaceutical advertising frequently uses phrases like "If you suffer from heart attack or if you suffer from stroke as if those words are conditions like cancer. It sounds strange to me with out the "a" as in suffered a heart attack or from a stroke.

Feb. 18 2009 12:10 PM
Emily from NYC

I've always wondered why New Yorkers stand "on line" while everyone else stands "in line."
thanks!

Feb. 18 2009 12:04 PM
James Gathings from New York

Hi,

This is one of my favorite segments.

Where does bye-bye come from? Where does the word Ooops come from?

Why are words like mom and dad similar in multiple languages?

Thanks,
-jg.

Feb. 18 2009 11:34 AM

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