What is a Palindrome?

February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Words of Whimsy

A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sentence that reads the same forward or backward.  Once in a while for extra credit, as a last question on a quiz, I’ll invite my students to come up with one.  Here are a few.  Can you list others?

1.  If I had a hi-fi.

2. No lemons, no melon.

3.  No, Mel Gibson is a casino’s big lemon.

4.  Rise to vote, sir.

5.  Cigar?  Toss it in a can, it is so tragic.

6.  Oh, no!  Don Ho!

7.  Never odd or even.

8.  Rats live on no evil star.

9. A Toyota!  Race fast, safe car.  A toyota.

10.  Dennis, Nell, Edna, Leon, Nedra, Anita, Rolf, Nora, Alice, Carol, Leo, Jane, Reed, Dena, Dale, Basil, Rae, Penny, Lana, Dave, Denny, Lena, Ida, Bernadette, Ben, Ray, Lila, Nina, Jo, Ira, Mara, Sara, Mario, Jan, Ina, Lily, Arne, Bette, Dan, Reba, Diane, Lynn, Ed, Eva, Dana, Lynne, Pearl, Isabel, Ada, Ned, Dee, Rena, Joel, Lora, Cecil, Aaron, Flora, Tina, Arden, Noel, and Ellen sinned.   (if your name is in there, you should feel pretty special that you are a part of a palindrome!)

Words About Words

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Words of Whimsy

I enjoy making up words.  For instance, wasn’t the GLEE episode that aired after the Super Bowl zombastic?!  Those that viewed the show will know exactly what I mean.  Words of the English language are fascinating to me.  Language is ever-evolving, growing new words and losing extinct ones.  At times, language may diverge when a subgroup separates from a larger population to create a unique social identity.  Other times, popular phrases teenagers use may seemingly disappear after a few years of unpopularity.  Here is a collection of fun facts I’ve collected over the past decade teaching English, illustrating just how strangely interesting these words we take for granted are.

Words About Words

1.  The longest one-syllable word in the English language is screeched.  The word has an onomatopoeia effect to it, don’t you think?

2. No word in the English language rhymes with orange, silver, purple or month.  I think this calls for creation of new words!!

3.  Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard.  Try it!

4.  The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the alphabet.  Everyone knows this one, right?

5.  Dreamt is the only English word that ends in “mt.”  This shows how important it is to dream.

6.  Go is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.  Some may argue this one, but a curse word does not constitute a complete sentence – it’s an exclamation!

7.  Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.  It’s also the perfect example of an evolving word; this word has been all but replaced by flight attendant.

8.  The letters of the alphabet in order of frequency of use are:  ETAISONHRDLUCMFWYPGVBKJQXZ

What fun facts regarding words do you have to add to this list?  I’d love to have you add them!!

Words of Whimsy 2

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Words of Whimsy

In anticipation of the summer travel season, here is a travel lexicon to enjoy.  Perhaps you may find some of these useful . . .

~ Frequent Liar: someone who boasts about traveling to places he/she has never been

~ Scary-on: an item that’s clearly too big to fit into a plane’s overhead bin, whose owner insists on carrying it on anyway.

~ Screamese: the loud voice used only to speak to foreigners, as opposed to learning a few rudimentary terms to get by.

~ Business *#*ss:  the dude who shows up at the airport in his best suit thinking it will help him get an upgrade.

Your lawyer, David, issues an affidavit

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Words of Whimsy

Grading Girl just stumbled upon this list ~ Top 100 Mispronounced Words in the English Language


As WebEnglishTeacher points out, one interesting point is that this list doesn’t allow for regional dialects. For example, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II pronounces the [t] in “often,” though here in the States – and on this list – it is frowned upon. Who would argue with the person referred to in the phrase “the Queen’s English”? Still, there might be fodder for some discussion!

Words of Whimsy 1

April 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Words of Whimsy

I like to make up words. My daughter laughs at me Read more

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