IT'S TIME ONCE AGAIN FOR THE award-winning feature "Ask Mister Language Person." Our first common grammar question is:
Q. You never won no award.
A. Did so.
Q. Did not.
A. Did so.
Q. Which of the following sentences is correct?
-- "Being a respected attorney, the dog lunged straight for Mr. Thwockett's personal region."
-- "The dog, being a respected attorney, lunged straight for Mr. Thwockett's personal region."
A. They both have their strong points.
Q. You know those Volkswagen ads that keep shrieking "Fahrvergnugen"? What the heck are they talking about?
A. "Fahrvergnugen" comes from the old German expression: "Phlugenhaven! Einrachenbrassen das Fahrvergnugen en zie Vessenhollenpratenraugur Burgermeister!" ("Phew! Somebody has been Fahrvergnugen in this closet!")
Q. When should I say "between" and when should I say "amongst"?
A. "Between" is used in situations involving a need for confidentially.
EXAMPLE: "Between you and I and the lamppost, Louise should do something about them chin hairs."
"Amongst" is used in religious situations.
EXAMPLE: "Let he amongst you whom is without sin and has a good arm see how far he can cast this here stone."
Q. The other night I heard a television newscaster say: "The suspects are still at large, but the police MANhunt was curtailed due to lack of MANpower." My question, as an ardent feminist, is: They're still at large what?
A. We all need to be more sensitive about this.
Q. How is the word "irregardless" used?
A. It is used to add emphasis to a statement:
WEAK: Webster gonna bust your head.
STRONGER: Webster gonna bust your head irregardless.
Q. Recently, when you were driving through Central Florida, did you see a small roadside store with a fascinating sign on it?
A. Yes. It said: "DAMAGED FOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR PET."
Q. Are you making that up?
Q. I recently received a letter containing the following sentence: "If you don't give us the money, we will kill your husband, ect." What does "ect." mean?
A. It means "irregardless."
Q. I am with the Defense Department, and I'd like to know whether it's correct to say "Four million dollars apiece IS not that much for the SB-79 Hellfire Amphibious Assault Salad Bar," or "Four million dollars apiece ARE ect."
A. Does that price include the optional SS-863 Shrieking Eagle Tactical Sneeze Shield?
Q. Of course not.
A. I didn't think so.
Q. What is the function of parentheses?
A. Parentheses are used to include information that helps the reader understand the sentence better:
CONFUSING: "Former president Nixon says he feels 'no bitterness' toward his former political enemies."
CLEARER: "Former president Nixon says he feels 'no bitterness' toward his former political enemies. (What a liar!)"
Q. What are the opening lyrics to the 1961 hit song "Rama Lama Ding Dong"?
A. They are:
Oh oh oh oh
I know a girl named
Rama Lama Lama Lama Ding Dong.
Q. Who wrote that, originally?
A. Francis Scott Key.
TIP FOR PROFESSIONAL WRITERS: A good way to make your writing more interesting is to include shocking revelations about famous celebrities.
WRONG: "Apply the lacquer with smooth, even strokes."
RIGHT: "Apply the lacquer with smooth, even strokes, bearing in mind that until 1985 Madonna was, biologically, a man."