If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What Did We Mean by That? by KM Rockwood

“One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.” Groucho Marx was clever at turning ambiguities in the English language into jokes.

The humor comes from his interpretation of the sentence in an unexpected, but certainly grammatically supported, manner.

Sometimes the meanings of such sentences are not quite so clear.

The lamb is ready to eat.  Does this mean we should sit down to dinner? Or prepare a feeding bottle for  a pet lamb?

Accompanying interns can be tedious. Are the interns who came with us tedious, or is it the act of accompanying them that we find less than fascinating?

The mugger approached the man with a gun. Is the man in danger? Or is the mugger in for a surprise?

Making your meaning clear sometimes takes a bit of introspection and some editing.
Some people who got parking tickets
contested them in court.
The tickets were dismissed,
but a period was added to the sign.

Small variations in punctuation can make a difference, too.

There’s a world of difference between “When do we eat, Grandma?” and “When do we eat Grandma?”

A court case in Maine in 2017 rested on the absence of an Oxford comma in the state’s labor laws.

According to an account on CNN by Lindsay Benson on February 9, 2018, delivery drivers sued Oakhurst Dairy for overtime pay. The law in question exempts certain workers from overtime pay, including “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of" certain agricultural and food products.
Sounds encouraging,
but it's more likely that someone
left the "d" off the "fine."

With no comma after the word “shipment,” this leaves open the question of whether the law covers those involved in the distribution itself, or only in packing for distribution.

The court decided that the absence of the comma meant that those who distributed—the truck drivers—were exempt from the provision that limited overtime compensation, and they were awarded over five million dollars.

The law has since been amended, with semicolons replacing the commas, and, yes, one has been placed after the word “shipment.”

English is a living language, changing all the time. But let's make sure our meaning is clear!

Don't children with diabetes have enough to worry about
without people fighting them at a Christmas event?

Raising children is time-consuming and expensive.
Not many people will want to exceed 20.
Or is that a speed limit?


Annette said...

I love these unclear or grammatically incorrect signs! Thanks for the smile this morning, KM!

Judy Penz Sheluk said...


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

My favorite, with church signboards a close second. thanks, Kathleen!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Clever... and a good way to start this morning.

KM Rockwood said...

Good morning, everybody!

Sometimes I hear something or see a sign that just makes my day.

Kait said...

So much fun! I've always wondered about the Slow children playing signs. Does that mean they aren't quick enough to get out of the way of vehicles? There are signs throughout Maine that read Break for Moose it could save your life. Then there was the smart sign over I-95 in Miami-Dade County, Florida that read Cons ahead. I looked for a sign that said Pros behind, but alas, never found one.

E. B. Davis said...

I love it! Thanks for the laughs.

Shari Randall said...

Hilarious! Thanks for the smiles, KM!

Jim Jackson said...

Grammar and punctuation are critical when it comes to the law or children, both of which rely on technical interpretations and do not follow the “you know what I meant” approach.

~ Jim

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Love these signs! Just goes to show the importance of punctuation!

KM Rockwood said...

We do have to be mindful of all children, slow or fast.

Just encountered another fun one. A child who had been permitted to use a family restroom in a store by himself came out and admitted that he'd tried to follow the "Employees must wash hands" directive, but nobody showed up, so he washed his hands himself.