Morning, noon and night

Three random things I learned, or remembered, today

Archive for Words

The meaning of “pear shaped”



Apparently the term “Pear Shaped” meaning a situation that went awry, perhaps horribly wrong, is only used in the UK and Australasia. It is not widely used or understood in the USA

It is said Margaret Thatcher used this phrase in front of the world’s press at one of her first meetings with President Ronald Reagan while visiting America in the 80’s. It generated some media interest in America at the time as reporters were unsure of the meaning of the term.


Split infinitives


Split infinitives are often frowned upon.

Here is one here.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before!”

I’ve never understood why because they often sound OK and less formal than the un-split variety.

Apparently its sometimes OK to use them according to the experts at ASK OXFORD

This is what they say:

“Split infinitives are frequently poor style, but they are not strictly bad grammar. In the example above, to avoid the split infinitive would result either in weakness (to go boldly) or over-formality (boldly to go): either would ruin the rhythmic force and rhetorical pattern of the original. It is probably good practice to avoid split infinitives in formal writing, but clumsy attempts to avoid them simply by shuffling adverbs about can create far worse sentences.”

I’m glad about that because I use them a lot.



How do I know when to put an apostrophe in it’s?

A google search found a great website which tells all about this and much more.


The word it’s is always short for it is (as in it’s raining), or in informal speech, for it has (as in it’s got six legs).

The word its means ‘belonging to it’ (as in hold its head still while I jump on its back). It is a possessive pronoun like his.

Easy really!



Is gruntled a real word, and if so what does it mean?

Apparently it is. Gruntled means, just as it sounds, ie grumpy. Disgruntled means even more grumpy than gruntled.

The prefix dis…. does not always negate. In some cases it means more of the same ie an intensifier.

PS  Missed my morning posting.  Something very strange happened. I had hoards of incoming Turkish links and the site was disabled for a while.  Why me. What have I done?????????