English: use of which

Tutoring English, grammar inevitably arises. The tutor mentions a use of which he’s long considered.

Decades ago I read a humorous article I really liked that included something like this:

He didn’t like that dish. Which is why he always ordered it.

Although I really liked that construction, I didn’t believe I’d get away with it in an English assignment. Therefore, I never used it myself. Still, I wondered what, technically, would be wrong with it.

Perhaps today I have found the answer: Which is a relative pronoun, meaning it refers to a noun in the central idea of the same sentence it appears.

In the quote above, which refers to the idea stated in the previous sentence: He didn’t like that dish. To be used properly, which must represent a noun in its same sentence, perhaps like so:

He didn’t like that dish, which is why he always ordered it.

Source:

Hodges, Horner, et al. Harbrace Handbook for Canadians, 6th ed. Scarborough: Nelson Education, 2003.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, religion: what is an avatar?

Self-tutoring: the tutor finds the definition of avatar.

avatar:

representation, on Earth, of a god or goddess, in human or animal form.

Source:

Gilmour, Lorna. Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what is a natatorium?

Tutoring English, obscure words can be fun. The tutor brings up natatorium.

natatorium

a swimming pool, particulary an indoor one.

Source:

Mish, Frederick C. (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, reading: blogs: Maanini

Finding blogs to follow leads to self-tutoring: the tutor mentions Maanini Singhvi’s blog A Fresh Outlook.

Reading a blog can inject you with the writer’s point of view. Such was my experience today, reading Tagore’s Ideals and Our Progress. Therein, Maanini observes challenges India faces towards becoming an ideal nation. I wonder if Maanini realizes any large democracy could be the subject.

Tagore’s poem, displayed above the post, sounds almost biblical, and reminds the reader that our “western” ideals actually come from the eastern world. Asia was the centre of human civilization for thousands of years before the “western” countries even existed. India, China, Iraq, and Egypt, with their marvelous agricultural potential and other natural resources, hosted the development of our common ideas of civilization.

Large western democracies had their time of prominence during the 20th century, but now, seemingly, need reinvent themselves. Maanini, mentioning India’s internal challenges, highlights our own as well.

A couple of clauses from Maanini’s article catch my attention. One is the observation that Parliament’s “sessions are washed away with trivial issues….”; I love the imagery there. The other is that India’s progress is a thousand mile journey that must begin with a single step, which is based on the saying by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

While India and China seem seldom to be mentioned together, they are neighbours. Both have emerged into dominance this new millennium, from starkly different approaches. As we all go forward, what will those two old giants teach to each other, and to us in the west?

Source:

www.cia.gov

www.brainyquote.com

maanini.wordpress.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Homophones: ween vs wean

More self-tutoring about English: the tutor mentions the homophones ween and wean.

ween: to believe by educated guess.

wean: to change away from a habit: for example, to bring a baby to eat solid food instead of milk.

Source:

Mish, Frederick C. (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: baking: can you line a baking pan with wax paper?

Self-tutoring: the tutor inquires whether wax paper can be used to line a pan for baking.

Two sources indicate that wax paper can be used for baking, but only under the following two conditions:

  1. The batter must completely cover the wax paper.
  2. The wax paper does not come in direct contact with the oven’s heat.

Source:

www.reynoldskitchens.com

food52.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, history: whence the saying “That’s all she wrote”?

Self-tutoring: the tutor inquires about the origin of the popular saying “That’s all she wrote.”

Apparently “That’s all she wrote” originates from WWII: if an American serviceman received a letter saying only “Dear John,” he’d been deserted by its writer. Observing the brevity of the letter, its receiver would report “That’s all she wrote” to share that his lady back home had left him. Therefore, “That’s all she wrote” meant not only the letter ended, but the relationship also had.

I had hoped, perhaps, for a more intriguing story behind “That’s all she wrote.” However, two sources suggest it arose as explained above. Hence, for this post, “That’s all she wrote:)”

Source:

word-ancestry.livejournal.com/60070.html

www.phrases.org

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Spreadsheets: Excel: how to write text across multiple columns

Self-tutoring with Excel: the tutor shares a tip about extending text over multiple columns.

Let’s imagine you want to title a spreadsheet. You probably want to center the title at the top: likely it will run across more than one column, especially if the title font is larger than inside the sheet.

Here’s how I found to do so:

  1. Select the row across the top.
  2. Right-click the selection, then choose Format Cells.
  3. Choose the Alignment tab.
  4. Under Horizontal, click the dropdown menu to reveal Center Across Selection.
  5. Click Center Across Selection, then OK.

Source:

answers.microsoft.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: sanatorium and sanitarium

Tutoring English, familiar words can hold surprises. The tutor mentions such a case with the words sanatorium and sanitarium.

I almost never hear sanatorium, but rather, sanitarium. They have the same meaning: a facility promoting patients’ recovery, possibly from long-term ailments.

Source:

Mish, Frederick C (editor). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.