Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fix: Voila'!

I saw a friend use the word Voila' recently and gave her kudos for it. More often than not, you see people simply spell it the way it sounds: Wallah. Or something like that. Which is way incorrect.

Nope, it's not "wallah," ma petite. It's French! Break it down for us,

voi·là (vwä-lä')
interj. Used to call attention to or express satisfaction with a thing shown or accomplished: Mix the ingredients, chill, and—voilà!—a light, tasty dessert.

[French : voi, second person sing. imperative of voir, to see (from Old French; see voyeur) + là, there (from Old French la, lai, probably from Latin illāc, by that way : illā, ablative sing. feminine of ille, that; see al-1 in Indo-European roots + -ce, deictic particle).]

Okay, now if you're like most people you probably skipped that whole second paragraph (didn't you?!) so I want to point out the origin because it's kind of interesting. Voi means "to see" and la' means "there."

So when you say Voila'! you're literally saying, in French, "See there!" Kind of like "Ta-DA!"

Yay! So be sure you spell it the fancy French way and pronounce it with the "V" sound at the beginning. You want to be sure to get the full effect, ma cherie. *kees, kees* Ciao!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fix: 2010

This is no cut and dried Friday Fix because I don't know what the correct way to do it is. In fact, I'm pretty sure either way is fine. But I'm curious; which have you been saying?


Or two thousand ten?

If you're saying Oh ten, though, you're definitely wrong. LOL! ;-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fix: Breakin' the Rules

You know how Mariah Carey and Beyonce'--and actually, most singers now--do a lot of vocal gymnastics all up and down the octaves instead of just holding a straight note for very long?

They do it for effect. They do it because they oh-so-long ago were gifted and able to carry a single note clearly for eternity. They were then able to build on and add to that skill, all for variety and effect. They do it because they can and they know how to do it artfully for a certain result. But it all started with mastering the basics.

Now, shift that same principle to writing. Grammar school teachers (actually, even on up into college) drilled us on the basics. Ad nauseum. It's where we heard, "Never begin a sentence with a conjunction" (remember when you tried to start a sentence with "because"? Have mercy!) and where red marks bled all over our fragments.

They were trying to help us master the basics, I guess kind of like I do here on the Friday Fix. Like Mariah and Beyonce' though, once you've mastered the rules they're kind of fun to start breaking--at least in informal writing.

In fact, all over my blog you'll find sentence fragments because I find they convey my personality better (C'mon, you always knew I was a little fragmented, right?). That's how I talk. And I like to spell words the way I want my audience to "hear them". Yanno?

So if you know HOW to break the rules and do it intentionally FOR EFFECT and WITHOUT COMPROMISING CLARITY, well then, you've arrived, Mariah! (And really, that's the rub. If you break rules willy-nilly and your readers have no idea what you're conveying, it's all for naught. You'd have been better off following those doggone rules.)

From time to time here on the Fix, then, I'll focus on rules you can break for effect. Won't that be fun, rebels? ;-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Friendly Helper

This post is one of those "hey, I'm way proud of my kid" posts, so please indulge me. ;-)

Lexi is a friendly helper at North and as such, was involved in collecting coins last week for the Red Cross in their efforts to help in Haiti.

She spent hours making this announcement poster.

I know! Gorgeous right?! Congratulations on a job well done, Lex!