Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen (More) Common Writing Mistakes


I did not write these tips. These tips, and many more like these, can be found at Common Errors in English. So, if you disagree with these rules, then please, don’t kill the messenger. These are here just for your learning/entertainment, nothing more, and nothing less.

Now that you know my disclaimer, let’s move on to the juicy stuff … *rubs hands together in glee* …

(Some of these seem pretty obvious – but if you read as many blogs as I do – you’d be surprised how many confused people there are out there. I don’t care how much it is argued, grammatically incorrect writing makes writers look foolish).

1. BULLION/BOUILLON: Gold bricks are bullion. Boil down meat stock to get bouillon. It’s an expensive mistake to confuse bullion with bouillon in a recipe.

2. BAILOUT/BAIL OUT: Whether you are bailing out a rowboat or a bank, use the two-word spelling to describe the action of doing it (the verb form): “we need to bail out the boat before we can go fishing.”

But to label the activity itself (the noun form), use the one-word spelling: “this bailout is going to be expensive.”

3. BLINDSIGHTED/BLINDSIDED: When you are struck by surprise from an unexpected direction, you are blindsided, as if from your blind side. Do not be confused by the many punning titles using the deliberate misspelling “blindsighted” into using the latter spelling for this meaning.

4. BOUYANT/BUOYANT: Buoys are buoyant. In the older pronunciation of “buoyant” as “bwoyant” this unusual spelling made more sense. Now that the pronunciation has shifted to “boyant” we have to keep reminding ourselves that the U comes before the O. The root noun, however, though often pronounced “boy” is more traditionally pronounced “BOO-ee.”

5. BREACH/BREECH: Substitute a K for the CH in “breach” to remind you that the word has to do with breakage: you can breach (break through) a dam or breach (violate the terms of) a contract. As a noun, a breach is something broken off or open, as in a breach in a military line during combat.

“Breech” however, refers to rear ends, as in “breeches” (slang spelling “britches” ). Thus “breech cloth,” “breech birth,” or “breech-loading gun.”

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” means “let’s charge into the gap in the enemy’s defenses,” not “let’s reach into our pants again.”

6. BAITED BREATH/BATED BREATH: Although the odor of the chocolate truffle you just ate may be irresistible bait to your beloved, the proper expression is “bated breath.” “Bated” here means “held, abated.” You do something with bated breath when you’re so tense you’re holding your breath.

7. BEHAVIORS: “Behavior” has always referred to patterns of action, including multiple actions, and did not have a separate plural form until social scientists created it. Unless you are writing in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or a related field, it is better to avoid the use of “behaviors” in your writing.

See also peoples.

8. BASED AROUND, BASED OFF OF/BASED ON: You can build a structure around a center; but bases go on the bottom of things, so you can’t base something around something else.

Similarly, you can build something off of a starting point, but you can’t base anything off of anything. Something is always based on something else.

9. BOUGHTEN/BOUGHT: “Bought, ” not “boughten,” is the past tense of “buy.” “Store-bought,” a colloquial expression for “not home-made,” is already not formal English; but it is not improved by being turned into “store-boughten.”

10. Calvary/cavalry: “Calvary,” always capitalized, is the hill on which Jesus was crucified. It means “hill of skulls.” Soldiers mounted on horseback are cavalry.

11. CATCH 22: People familiar with Joseph Heller’s novel are irritated when they see “Catch-22” used to label any simple hitch or problem rather than this sort of circular predicament: you can’t get published until you have an agent, and you can’t get an agent until you’ve been published. “There’s a catch” will do fine for most other situations.

12. COMPRISED OF/COMPOSED OF: Although “comprise” is used primarily to mean “to include,” it is also often stretched to mean “is made up of”—a meaning that some critics object to. The most cautious route is to avoid using “of” after any form of “comprise” and substitute “is composed of” in sentences like this: “Jimmy’s paper on Marxism was composed entirely of sentences copied off the Marx Brothers Home Page.”

13. CELIBATE/CHASTE: Believe it or not, you can be celibate without being chaste, and chaste without being celibate. A celibate person is merely unmarried, usually (but not always) because of a vow of celibacy. The traditional assumption is that such a person is not having sex with anyone, which leads many to confuse the word with “chaste,” denoting someone who does not have illicit sex. A woman could have wild sex twice a day with her lawful husband and technically still be chaste, though the word is more often used to imply a general abstemiousness from sex and sexuality.

By the by, if you’re hungry for more writing tips, you’ll find some EXCELLENT advice/lessons at Daily Writing Tips.

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Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – I Love Cupcakes (Part Two)

Anyone else watch Cupcake Wars? I really dig watching the Food Networks’ food challenges and the cupcake wars are just … well, they’re cute.

Anyhoo … I thought it would be fun to highlight the Cupcakes from the Family Fun site in case anyone out there is hankering to decorate any cupcakes any time soon.

And if you need anyone to test those cupcakes for you, just let me know. 😀

(There are more cute cupcakes over here).

1. N is For Nest Cupcake

2. O is For Octopus Cupcake

3. P is For Pig Cupcake

4. Q is For Queen Cupcake

5. R is For Rose Basket Cupcake

6. S is For Shark Cupcake

7. T is For Tepee Cupcake

8. U Is for Unicorn Cupcake

9. V Is For Vampire Cupcake

10. W Is For Worms Cupcake

11. X Is For Xylophone Cupcake

12. “Y” Is for Yellow Jacket Cupcake

13. Z Is For Zoo Cupcake

Which cupcake is your favorite?

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – I Love Cupcakes (Part One)

Anyone else watch Cupcake Wars? I really dig watching the Food Networks’ food challenges and the cupcake wars are just … well, they’re cute.

Anyhoo … I thought it would be fun to highlight the Cupcakes from the Family Fun site in case anyone out there is hankering to decorate any cupcakes any time soon.

And if you need anyone to test those cupcakes for you, just let me know. 😀

1. A is for Apple Cupcake

2. B is for Baseball Cupcake(video)

3. C is For Clown Cupcake

4. D is for Desert Island Cupcake

5. E is For Elephant Cupcake

6. F is For Flower Cupcake

7. G Is for Grapes Cupcake

8. H Is for Hedgehog Cupcake

9. I is For Ice-Cream Cone Cupcake

10. J is For Jell-O Cupcake

11. K is For Kitty Cupcake

12. L is For Ladybug Cupcake

13. M is for Mini Monster Cupcake(video)

Which cupcake is your favorite?

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – The Secret’s Out #3

Some of my favorite Post Secrets. I’m posting these because they resonate with me on some level. What’s your favorite secret?

And it’s a sobering day. (That day has come for me).

Though the man is certainly not blameless in this scenario, I sort of wonder if the woman chose to focus on her revenge instead of the role SHE played in the break up.

This is my secret. (Well. I didn’t send this secret in, but I very well could have). I often feel guilty for having such a good life.

It sounds to me the woman doing the spying has more issues than the person she’s is spying on.

Bitterness much? This makes me wonder what sort of relationship this is and I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. (Though he may be a jerk to her, does he really deserve food poisoning? What a vindictive thing to do).

I understand this secret. Some things just aren’t meant to be shared – with anyone.

Actually. I think this person has a lot of courage – for staying.

I’m betting they don’t care. Instead of focusing on the poor part, how about teaching the kids the value of managing money wisely?

There is only one person I’ve ever felt like this with and as fate would have it, I ended up working with her. I found out she was actually quite nice.

If you don’t trust him enough to NOT read his emails, then why are you with him? Trust has to start somewhere.

I sense a story in this one.

You did. Stop snooping or suffer the consequences.

How can any mother be ashamed of her son going into the Marines? I’m sure there is more to the story but on the surface? This secret makes me angry.

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Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: Upcoming Topics On Write From Karen

Because I keep meaning to write this stuff down and I need to post something for today, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone and do both.

It’s called multi-tasking … I think. *grin*

Here are thirteen upcoming articles that I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time – maybe this will help organize the sludge of ideas that are swirling around in my head.


1. Body expectations – Get Real

2. Think Before You Eat – It’s a Constant Compromise

3. Move It – Finding the exercise that works for you

4. Getting Into the Habit – Start Slow

5. Measure Inches, Not Pounds

6. Stop Being Lazy


7. Should I Cut My Hair Short if my Husband Likes it Long?

8. Getting to Know Your Spouse All Over Again

9. You Want Your Relationship to Change? It Starts With You

10. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Work on the Big Stuff


11. Is College Really Necessary?

12. Talking Politics with the Kids

13. Allowing the Kids to Be Their Own People, and Not What We WANT Them to Be

Wow. I feel soooo much better after writing these out. They are topics that have been weighing heavily on my mind and I will do my best to post these articles as soon as I can.

Is there anything you would like me to talk about? Any issues you’d like my opinion on? Anything you’d like to know about me? I’ll do my best to try and give you my perspective but I do reserve the right to decline if the subject matter is too sensitive and/or might cause strife with my family.

Hey. I have to live with these people, cut me some slack. 😀

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – Funny Church Ladies

It’s not often that my husband laughs at emails that have been forwarded to him, so when I heard him cracking up one morning and asked him what was so funny, he sent me the following church bulletins. And apparently? These really appeared on billboards and church newsletters. 😀

1. The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

2. The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’

3. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

4. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

5. Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

6. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

7. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.

8. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

9. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

10. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

11. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

12. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.

13. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church Please use large double door at the side entrance.

What was your favorite?

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Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – Unique Gift Ideas

I recently stumbled on this great site that offers unique gifts and gadgets and since Christmas is NEXT WEEK (ACK!!), I thought this would be a fun, interesting and timely Thursday Thirteen.

Which gift idea is your favorite?


1. Dance Dance Revolution Pad Turned into a Purse

Liz Revision had a broken dance gaming pad from Dance Dance Revolution and didn’t know what to do with it. So she cut the top vinyl layer off, separating it from the electronics and then went to work refashioning it as a really cool ladies handbag.


2. Microwave that Plays Youtube Videos

Cast Oven is a microwave oven design that gives you a little bit of entertainment while your food cooks up. Instead of clear window, there’s an LCD screen. When you punch in the amount of time to cook the food, the microwave connects to the internet and streams a video clip from YouTube of the exact same length.


3. iMote: Kid Friendly Remote Control

Kids love stealing the remote and putting on whatever show they want to. With the iMote Kid Friendly Remote Control parents can take back some of that control. This programmable remote control lets parents enter in their kid’s five favorite channels. With hundreds of channels available today, it’s hard for kids to remember a bunch of three digit numbers to know where their favorites are- make it easy for them. 100 colorful stickers for popular channels are included to label the buttons.


4. Foldup Keyboard Concept

(From Craziest Gadgets:)
The designers of this keyboard concept have claimed the design is for you to bring your own keyboard along to avoid infections when using other computers. While that’s a noble pursuit (and possibly overkill- just bring a wipe to swipe down the keyboard instead), the result is a great conceptual design for a keyboard that folds up like a fan. Unlike say a silicon roll-up keyboard, this one maintains the rigidity you’re used to for typing. Good idea, I can definitely see it being produced.


5. Bucket Boss Adds Pockets to your Buckets

Now there’s the Bucket Boss 56-Pocket Bucket Tool Organizer Bucket Boss Adds Pockets to your Buckets which turns your ordinary bucket into a round toolbox. There’s 38 exterior pockets and 18 on the inside.


6. Big Belly Coinosaurus Dinosaur Bank

The Coinasaurus is a big belly dinosaur bank that eats coins. Drop your change into his mouth and watch it wiggle down into his big ol’ belly. This bank is big at 20″ tall and can hold a lot of coins- 970 quarters ($242.50). Kids (and kids at heart) will love watching the coins zig zag downwards.


7. Texthook Lets You Text While Pushing a Stroller

Texting while driving is illegal in many states but texting while pushing a stroller is still totally legal! It’s just difficult. Unless you had something to mount your phone onto the handlebar of your stroller. Something like the Texthook.


8. Snow Shorts with a Sled Built into the Butt

There’s nothing more fun during the Winter than to climb up a giant hill and sled down. The only problem is that nobody likes dragging a sled up the hill. If you had Pull on Snow Shorts from Orvis, you wouldn’t have to worry about pulling the sled up the hill because the sled is built right into your bottomside. It’s basically a wearable sled! Just pull these snow shorts over your pants and glide on the foam-padded PVC seat all the way down the hill.


9. Lili Lite is a Bookshelf, Reading Light and Bookmark

The Lili Lite is a bookshelf that can do so much more than just hold books. Ok, not that much more but it does have a nice looking design with an integrated reading light underneath. It also has a peak in the middle which is made to function as a bookmark and keep your book open to the page where you stopped reading. The most interesting part about the Lili Lite is that when you place your book down on the “bookmark”, the light will automatically turn off and when you pick the book up again, the light turns on.


10. Instant Doorway Puppet Theater

This is the puppet theater that sets up in a doorway in seconds, unlike bulky wooden stages that require larger permanent spaces and time-consuming assembly. Made from heavy, hypoallergenic cotton and polyester, the theater includes a fold-down stage, working front and side curtains, and four back-stage storage pockets. Curved backdrop rod and black curtain provide a sense of stage depth. The theater mounts on an adjustable rod and can span a 28″ to 40″ doorway. Drawstring storage bag.


11. Voice Recognition Grocery Organizer

This device stores and prints grocery lists generated from the items you speak into its microphone. Using an integrated voice recognition system, the shopping list manager matches a spoken item with one of the 2,500 food, beverage, household, beauty, and office products in its database. Each spoken product appears on the LCD and you can add it to the list and print an alphabetized record with the touch of a button. The device recognizes words as specific as swordfish, emery boards, and lawn bags, and identifies errands, such as going to the bank, library, or veterinarian. You can create and manage two different lists simultaneously, add products to the database


12. Laptop steering Wheel Desk

Introducing the AutoExec WM-01 Wheelmate Steering Wheel Desk Tray. Attaches to your steering wheel for easy access to a writing and drink storage surface; perfect for lunch or a snack. This Go Office Wheel Mate Steering Wheel Desk stores neatly in your car.

Obviously, you shouldn’t use this while driving, but what a PERFECT gift for someone who is on the go all the time – like MOMS who have to drive their CHILDREN to soccer practice, or dance lessons, or music lessons, or …

Personally? This one is my favorite. Hey NaNoWriMos! Wouldn’t this be perfect in to use during National Novel Writing Month!?


13. The Ex Voodoo Knife Set

Have you been looking for a new knife block for your kitchen? The Voodoo Knife Set is fun, functional and stylish. Your future suitors will get the “point”. You are not someone to be messed with!

Oh come on, you have to admit, this one is FUNNY, in a sick, sort of twisted way. 😀

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