Category Archives: English and Editing

Australians have their own language

As we know, the world’s upside down in Australia, so while it’s winter here, it’s summer there.

“Take your togs or cossies, your esky packed with amber fluid and maybe a dog’s eye for a snack. Bend the elbow too much? Stop off for a long black, a short black or a flat white to make sure you don’t end up a few kangaroos (roos) loose in the top paddock.

The Washington Post published a tongue-in-cheek article about the strange colloquialisms that sprout up in Australia, “define the Australian identity and give continuity to the variety of voices and experiences that shaped the country’s history”.

The words are so commonly used that the Government of Australia has added them to their citizenship tests. As a would-be Australian, you’d better know the lingo.

“Assuming you pass the tests and move to Australia, you’ll probably find yourself flat out like a lizard drinking, that’s extremely busy, from the hard yakka or labor of your new job.

If you get time for a beach picnic try not to let the heat and beer make you chunder or vomit in the dunny, that’s toilet.”

Oh, and the translation of that first quote?

“Take your swimwear and cooler box full of beer and a meat pie to eat. A bit too much to drink? Have a small or large black espresso coffee or a white coffee to make sure you are fully compos mentis when you get home.”

G’Day, mate.

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The British most beloved books

BBC has come up with what they call The Big Read, the result of a survey of people’s favourite reads. Here’s the list below. I’ve put those I’ve read in bold. I read 48 of the 100. How many have you read?

  • The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  • Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
  • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  • The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
  • The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowlin
  • The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
  • Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  • Middlemarch, George Eliot
  • A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
  • The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  • The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
  • One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
  • David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
  • Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  • Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen
  • Dune, Frank Herbert
  • Emma, Jane Austen
  • Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas (in French)
  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  • Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  • Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
  • The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
  • The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  • A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
  • The BFG, Roald Dahl
  • Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  • Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
  • Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
  • Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
  • A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
  • Mort, Terry Pratchett
  • The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
  • The Magus, John Fowles
  • Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
  • Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
  • Perfume, Patrick Süskind
  • The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
  • Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
  • Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
  • Ulysses, James Joyce
  • Bleak House, Charles Dickens
  • Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Twits, Roald Dahl
  • I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
  • Holes, Louis Sachar
  • Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
  • The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  • Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
  • Magician, Raymond E Feist
  • On The Road, Jack Kerouac
  • The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  • The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
  • The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Katherine, Anya Seton
  • Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
  • Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
  • Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
  • Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

And of the next 100, I read these:

  • Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
  • The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  • Shogun, James Clavell
  • The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
  • The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Possession, A. S. Byatt
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
  • All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
  • Papillon, Henri Charriere
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
  • The World According To Garp, John Irving
  • The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
  • The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
  • Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
  • The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
  • A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
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Honest rejection letters

“Dear Author: Your participles are dangling. Please tuck in. Love, Bear.”

Elizabeth Bear and friends have this very funny post at LiveJournal about what they would write if they wrote really honest rejection letters instead of sending the usual form letter that is, more often than not, not even signed. Oh, yes, I’ve had many of the latter. Now I’m thinking I’d rather receive those than something “honest” like the letter below:

“Dear Author: Not just no, but hell no. Love, Bear”

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Washington Post

The Washington Post has, once again, published a list of neologisms based on common words:

  • Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.
  • Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  • Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  • Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  • Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent
  • Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.
  • Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
  • Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.
  • Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  • Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  • Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
  • Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
  • Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
  • Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
  • Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.
  • Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.
  • Bustard (n.), a rude bus driver.
  • Semantics (n.), pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood.
  • Spatula: n. A fight among vampires.
  • Excruciate: n., the ligament that attaches your ex-wife to your paycheck.
  • Perplexed: adj., lost in a movie theater.
  • Population: n., that nice sensation you get when drinking soda.
  • Racket: n., a small pair of breasts.
  • Nincompoop: n., the military command responsible for battlefield sanitation.
  • Ineffable: adj., describes someone you absolutely cannot swear in front of.
  • Pontificate: n., a document given to each graduating pope.
  • Pimple: n., pimp’s apprentice.
  • Discussion: n., a Frisbee-related head injury.
  • Ozone: n., area in which the G-spot is located.
  • Flattery: n., a place that manufactures A and B cup brassieres only.
  • Cabbage Patch: A patch for those trying to stop eating cabbage.
  • Sudafed: A software program on how to file a civil action against the government.
  • Pop Secret: Paternity suit settled without publicity.
  • Oral-B: Monica’s grade on her last intern evaluation.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
87 / 120
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Funny Analogies

Over at Writing English, I happen to fall on this post about 25 funny analogies. They’re tagged as the 25 funniest, and I don’t know that I haven’t read funnier ones than that, but they’re pretty funny. Those analogies were collected ty High School teachers. Here are some of my favorites:

  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  • Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

For a complete list, mosey along to Writing English.

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