Mar 24th 2013

Jazz: The Word of the Century

Spring is in the air and jazz is on our stereo.

Why? Because we enjoy it and because April is Jazz Appreciation month.

Jazz is characterized by improvisation and syncopation. Originating from black
communities in the United States, the music is held together by a forceful or regular
rhythm.

The Word “Jazz”
Etymologists, or people who trace the history of a word by analyzing its parts, were
curious about the word jazz. Surprisingly, they didn’t find a definite answer!

Researchers worked hard to track down the origins of the word jazz and this
intrigue and excitement caused the American Dialect Society to name jazz the Word
of the Twentieth Century.

One of the earliest mentions of jazz was in 1915. The editor of the Chicago Daily
Tribune wrote that a musician had, “jazzed the jazziest streak of jazz.”

Here jazz is used as a verb, adjective and noun all in the same sentence!

The “Duke” Disagrees
Not all musicians in the early jazz era were fans of the term jazz being used to refer
to their music. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, a prolific American musician who
wrote more than 1,000 compositions, felt that the word jazz represented economic
injustices due to the laws prohibiting the mainly black musicians from interacting
with or being a part of the very society that they were entertaining.

Often these musicians would not be allowed to enter as patrons into the casinos or
bars whose stages they were playing from.

In the 1950s, Duke Ellington would introduce his fellow musicians as being
musicians beyond category,” rather than use the word jazz.

Thankfully, today the racist laws that prevented early jazz musicians from being a
part of society no longer exist.

Even if the “Duke” disagreed, the term jazz caught on and is used to describe the
music that entertains millions worldwide at large festivals, in smoky bars or on our
iPods.

Happy Jazz Appreciation Month from the team at Ginger!

Who is your favorite jazz musician?

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Mar 20th 2013

Wednesday Word: Regardless, NOT Irregardless!

In English, there are many words that sound the same. The words “regardless” and “irregardless” fall into this category. Don’t worry – Ginger is here to clear up the confusion.

Is “irregardless” a word?
This question has plagued writers for decades. As far back as 1923, the Literary Digest published an article “Is There Such a Word as irregardless in the English Language?”
In short, the answer is “no”.

Clearing up the confusion
Regardless means “without regard to” or “despite.” For example, “I will go for a jog today, regardless of how cold it is outside.”

Irregardless is not a word, and often misused both conversationally and in writing. The word probably arose from combining “regardless” and “irrespective.”

The “ir”- prefix  at the beginning of the word and the “less” at the end are both negative elements which combine to make irregardless a non-standard word. Being non-standard makes it is grammatically incorrect.

What does Stewie think?
Always AVOID using the word irregardless. This “word” is so frowned upon that in the TV show Family Guy, Stewie becomes president of the world and makes a rule against using the word.

Regardless of your knowledge of the proper usage of the word, stop using irregardless today!

Read Ginger’s blog regularly for Grammar tips and make sure to download Ginger’s Free Proofreader to keep all of your writing error-free!

Clearing up linguisitic confusion,

The Ginger Team

 

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Mar 18th 2013

Monday Mistake: Whoa Is Me!

Graffiti is written on buildings and public spaces in permanent paint to paint a permanent message. What message does graffiti send when it contains spelling and grammar mistakes?

Whoa! Did you mean woe?

Homophones are words that are pronounced alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings (see Ginger’s Pi Day post). The word “whoa” commands an animal to stand still, while “woe” expresses grief or distress. This graffiti artist may have been too depressed to proofread his/her work, thus entertaining us with his incorrect word choice. 

Grammar still exists

Subject-verb agreement is another grammar point that is not to be taken lightly. “Love” is a common abstract noun that takes a singular verb such as “Love exists,” or “Love hurts.” We’re still hurt by incorrectly conjugating the verb in this graffiti.

Don’t make the same mistakes as our reckless graffiti artists! Download Ginger’s free proofreader today!

The Ginger Team

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Mar 17th 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick was a Christian saint from Ireland who is said to have died on March 17th.

One of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is by writing a creative toast, or sláinte (pronounced slahn-chə) in Gaelic, the language of Ireland.

When you are typing your own toast, make sure that you use Ginger to help proofread, unless you are writing it in Gaelic!

Here is one of our favorite Irish toasts:

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Post your favorite Irish toast, or write your own in the comments section below!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Ginger Team

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Mar 14th 2013

Happy Pi Day!

Source: http://www.geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Pi_pie2.jpg

Today, March 14, is Pi Day!

Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant Pi and is often celebrated by eating pies.

“Pi” and “pie” are homophones, or words that have the same sound as each other but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

If you wanted to measure the distance around the crust of your favorite apple pie, Pi is the tool that you would use. Pi expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. It took mathematicians thousands of years to develop the Pi ratio.

Pi Day is celebrated today because the concept of Pi begins with 3.14, just like the date March 14 (3/14).

Physicist Larry Shaw officially celebrated the first Pi Day in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium where he worked as a scientist.

While the celebration of Pi Day is a modern concept, the notion of Pi has existed for thousands of years. Many people believe that the ancient Egyptians used Pi to plan the area and height of the pyramids. In fact, they could have been eating pie (an ancient Egyptian snack) while they were designing these giant structures.

Homophones are not a mathematical concept. However, just like incorrectly calculating a math problem can result in a wrong answer, confusing words can result in significant contextual errors. You wouldn’t want to be misunderstood asking for a cup of coffee and a piece of Pi, would you? 3.14 might not be as tasty as pecan, apple or cherry.

What flavor of pie will you be eating this year on Pi Day?

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