Category Archives: Language

Pastor pulls a fast one in anti-gay rights speech

Setting aside any comments on the political, religious, or moral message here, I thought this Missouri pastor (if that’s what he really is) employed an interesting rhetorical technique in this speech. To really understand what he’s doing, listen all the … Continue reading

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The Birther/Deather Chiasmus

Heard on CNN, 6 May 2011: In just one week, we’ve gone from the death of birthers to the birth of deathers. (Shannon Travis) AB — 6 May 2011

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Always Arguing About That Elusive Kettle

In his book Icons of Evolution, biologist Jonathan Wells refers (p. 133) to an old lawyers’ joke in which “Jones sues Smith for borrowing his kettle and returning it with a crack in it.” The defense by Smith’s lawyers goes … Continue reading

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Smart-Alecky Response to a Prescriptivist Teacher

I found this at 22 Words, but its origin is obscure: Me: Can I use the bathroom? Teacher: I don’t know, can you? Me: When I said “can” I was using its secondary modal form as a verbal modifier asking … Continue reading

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