Stan Berkson Articles by: Stan Berkson

The Cantankerous Grammarian: Bad Language Is Bad Business

The Cantankerous Grammarian: Bad Language Is Bad Business
By August 23, 2013 Small Business

When I was growing up, my parents regularly reminded me about using bad language. What they meant was that I should not swear, curse, or use profanity. Today, the term “bad language” means something else, at least to me. It means bad grammar, bad spelling, mispronunciation, failure to understand the meaning of words, and the like.

The use of bad language is bad for people in business. It hurts their image, their credibility, and who knows what else. In some cases, it actually makes people angry. Perhaps I am too sensitive about the proliferation of bad language. I seem to have a special kind of radar that instantly lights up a part of my brain when it see it or hear it. Read more ›

Earaches: Words CAN Hurt! by The Cantankerous Grammarian

Earaches: Words CAN Hurt! by The Cantankerous Grammarian
By July 13, 2013 Strategies 101

Editor’s Note: Our Cantankerous Grammarian is back, and is he riled up!


People tend to write and speak words the way they hear them.

A friend suggested to me that many writing and speaking errors may come from non-readers, those who write and speak what they hear because they have not seen the words in print. The reverse of this problem would account for a sermon I once heard in which the pastor referred to the great writer AL-burt CAME-us (he meant Al-BEAR Cam-OO) — obviously he’d seen it in print, but not heard it spoken. There also are many words that give people difficulty with pronunciation. A third category of annoying words is colloquial speech. Read more ›

The Cantankerous Grammarian

The Cantankerous Grammarian
By June 14, 2013 Strategies 101

Editor’s Note: The Cantankerous Grammarian will be an ongoing feature, monthly-ish, on our blog. We are so pleased to welcome Mr. Berkson to our family.

Avoid Littering

The litter of “y’know” in speech is so annoying to me that I have to turn off my radio or change the station when I hear it. I am so distracted that I cannot focus on what the person is saying. Today on my local PBS station (WNYC fm) there was a man who mastered it so well that he even uttered double shots of the phrase. The first utterance was in a normal voice and it was followed by a second one in a softer, lower register (almost muttering). Frequently, he used it several times in a single sentence.

y’know, y’know Y’KNOWENOUGH ALREADY! Read more ›