Tag Archives | english usage

You post to your blog, not blog to your blog!

The Phrase FreakDo you blog? Yes? Then when you sit down to write something for that blog, do you “write a blog” or do you “write a post”?

If you answered “write a blog”, then you are one of the doofus digerati that makes the Phrase Freak cry.

It’s a common error (especially on MySpace) and one that is understandable. The blog is still a relatively new phenomenon (not in web years, but in the writing world), so the conventions are still shaking out. That said, this is an error in usage that we should all try to stamp out now, while there’s still time. (I’m still upset that phrase freaks and grammarians everywhere were unable to prevent the odious “proactive” or even worse, “moving forward.“)

If you were writing an article or story for a newspaper, would you say, I’m writing a newspaper? Of course not, that would sound ridiculous. (Unless you’re a one-person operation, in which case it may be accurate, but still sound absurd.)

If you were writing a sit-com would you say, I’m writing a TV? Only if you were the Vice-President of TV.


  • writing a (blog) post
  • writing a blog entry
  • posting to a blog
  • writing
  • posting
  • blogging.

This gets 4 gobsmacks out of 10:
4 gobsmacks out of 10

Alltop is all about the humor usage.

On the ground

The Phrase FreakThe Phrase Freak is all about examining the phrases that we hear on a regular basis through the media, but somehow never question. “On the ground” is one such construction that make me mental.

My theory is this dates back to the first Gulf War, when anchors started asking reporters about the state of affairs “on the ground”. The reason they did this was because so much of that first war — and the journalism around it — was about the air war. Even back then, I’m not sure the phrase made a lot of sense, but I accepted it, because there was really little information about what said air war was doing to people “on the ground”. Now, I regret not having stepped in sooner with a big stick of shame-whammy.

Flash forward twenty years, and still, anchors and reporters use this phrase, but now it is totally disconnected from its original context. Anchors regularly ask about the state of things “on the ground”. Except for the occasional airline hijacking and submarine accident, the vast majority of news stories actually take place on the ground, to ask about the ground specifically is kind of redundant, if not outright silly.

On the ground -- pic of sidewalkJust once I’d like to hear a reporter say, “well Bill, there are a few ants milling around what appears to be a crumb of bread … no, no strike that, it’s a piece of donut. Next to this frenzied activity, I can see a few dead leaves and Oh My God — there is a crack in the sidewalk! We can’t tell if this crack is growing or the result of some kind of seismic activity, but we’ll check into it for you Bill.”

Then maybe it would stop.

Freak level on this phrase: 8 gobsmacks out of 10.
8 gobsmacks out of 10

Alltop is an aerial war aggregator. Sidewalk photo by Meganne Soh. Originally published, January 2006. (Obviously, not very effective at stopping this linguistic excrescence.)