Who is that?

rogersgeorge on August 30th, 2009

I see this so often in internet marketing efforts; you’d think these folks were more literate. “That” and “who” are called relative pronouns. They refer to a word that came earlier in the sentence.  (Yes, I know, they have other names in other contexts.)

who—refers to PEOPLE, people! You might say, “Will the person who got my name wrong please stand up?”

that—refers to THINGS, but not people. (I was going to use all caps instead of italic, but I don’t want to be someone who displays bad manners by shouting.) Say “Things that go bump in the night…”

You don’t refer to things who go bump in the night; don’t refer to people that do something. This rule applies to words that stand for people, too. “The teacher who teaches well…”  “The police who were on duty that night…” “The wretch who stole my pen…” I invite those of you who read this tender missive to provide your own examples in the comments.

Harrumpf.

Download that report on the right and be one of the folks who writes well.

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How simple is too simple?

rogersgeorge on August 13th, 2009

Lots of folks like to use big words. That’s okay, but you have to use them right, or those in the know will snicker at you ro roll their eyes. And those not in the know will be led astray.

Today’s sin is choosing the wrong, longer word:

Simple—not complicated. Easy to describe or do. You know what simple means.

Simplistic—oversimplified, hence incorrect. Not enough detail to be useful. “‘Nuke ’em till they glow’ is a simplistic solution to the Middle East problem.”

So don’t use “simplistic” when you mean “simple.” Short words are okay—they’re simpler.