Thursday, August 29, 2013

What's wrong with this song title?

What's wrong with this song title:  You Make Me Feel Like I've Been Locked Out Of Heaven?

If you're a word nerd like me, the answer should jump out at you.  The usage of 'Like' is wrong.  It should be You Make Me Feel As If I've Been Locked Out Of Heaven. We don't expect song writers to have perfect English. In fact, they often intentionally use incorrect English in order to play with the words or sound folksy.  We do expect writers and editors to have perfect English, however.

If you're one of the countless people who have wrongly used like and as if, don't feel stupid.  Many otherwise competent writers of English make this mistake. Yours truly has made that error himself.  It's what I call a word trap and there are many in the English language.

Determining the correct usage is actually quite simple. Like is a preposition while as is a conjunction.  The correct use of like is when a noun or object follows.  He ran like a sprinter.  As should be used directly in front of a verb or clause.  He ran as if he were a sprinter.

That's all you need to know.  Using the correct word is not hard at all once you know the rule and it will allow you to avoid a lot of embarrassing mistakes.



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is There No Shame To This Activity?

I received a disturbing e-mail today.  Someone is offering a Nook as a prize to one lucky contest winner.  There's one catch. To enter, you have to get onto Amazon and give his book a five-star review.

I guess I should not be surprised.  Less than honorable activities have been going on there for quite some time. What is surprising, however, is the openness of the activity.  One might think cheating in this matter is done secretly, under the table, and the person doing it wants to keep his shame hidden.  But to send a mass e-mail to people he does not even know?

We've known there is a lack of objectivity in the Amazon reviews.  Almost every review is a five-star one. People are getting their friends to write reviews, signing onto bogus accounts, paying people for reviews, and now this.

One would think that Amazon would be most concerned of all.  Activities like this assault the brand and undermine their credibility.  Do they take action? The guy posting does not seem to think they will.