occassionally browse through my referral logs to see what sort of search terms people used to find this site. Some of the time, it’s clear that they find an article that answers their questions. For example, I constantly see people searching for “bad news messages,” and Google takes them directly to my article, “Delivering Bad News.” It’s clear, however, that they haven’t always found what they were looking for on my site—not until now, anyway. This post will attempt to answer some of those unanswered questions.
1. What does the word exodus mean?
Before I answer that, one little point: If you can’t or won’t buy yourself a good dictionary, bookmark this site: www.thefreedictionary.com. Use a dictionary or go to a dictionary site, rather than googling a word when you want the definition. “The right tool for the job,” and all that.
Now, to the definition (from thefreedictionary.com, by the way):
1. A departure of a large number of people.
a. The departure of the Israelites from Egypt.
b. Abbr. Ex or Exod.
Usage note: Never write mass exodus. An exodus is already a “mass” event. Mass exodus is a pleonasm. (Exercise for the class: go look up “pleonasm.”)
2. starting a sentence with if
That’s easy: If you think you shouldn’t start a sentence with “if,” you’re wrong. See?
3. what does “a little song a little dance a little seltzer down your pants” mean
That phrase goes back to the Mary Tyler Moore show, in which it was said to be the catch phrase used by Chuckles the Clown. You can read more here on Wikipedia.
4. Grammar question is it all your or all of your?
Both. No, really. As far as I know, either one is fine, grammatically speaking, so trust your ear to let you know which one sounds better in a given situation.
5. can i use semicolons to list things
I find paper and pencil works better. As far as punctuation goes, a colon is more appropriate to set off a list, like this:
Here is a list of stuff: Item A, Item 2, and Cranberries.
You can also use it to introduce a bulleted or numbered list. Find out about the uses of the semicolon here.