GrammarPhile Blog

Super Bowl Party Fodder

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jan 31, 2014 6:30:00 AM

football playerOK, so the game's a close one and it's the fourth quarter. The chips and salsa are long gone, but the beer and sodas are holding out and the excitement is palpable.

Somebody remarks that she "feels badly" for the losing coach because nobody's going to dump ice-cold Gatorade on him. "Whoa! Whoa! What did you say?" you ask.

You grab the clicker, freeze your DVR with the football suspended in the middle of a 50-yard pass play, and launch into the following word lesson. "Super Bowl, Schmooper Bowl - it's time to learn!"

And so your enrapt guests switch their attention, hone their speaking skills, and eventually leave your funtabulous party richer than whence they came. Dream on.

  • feel badly. Unless you are talking about how your fingers have trouble feeling the seam of the pigskin, the correct phrase is feel bad {I feel bad for that moronic referee}.
  • every one; everyone. The two-word version is an emphatic way of saying "each" {every one of the refs was an idiot}; the second is a pronoun equivalent to everybody {everyone was drinking margaritas by halftime}.
  • flaunt; flout. The first word, meaning "to show off ostentatiously" {they flaunted their wealth}, should not be confused with the second, flout, meaning "to treat with disdain or contempt" {flouting the rules with every post-touchdown leap into the first row of the stands}.
  • incredible; incredulous. Incredible properly means "unbelievable." Colloquially, it is used to mean "astonishing (in a good way)" {it was an incredible 99-yard run for the touchdown}. Incredulous means "disbelieving, skeptical" {the coach was incredulous about the eight turnovers}.
  • ability; capability; capacity. Ability refers to a person's physical or mental skill or power to achieve something {the ability to throw a football}. Capability refers more generally to power or ability {he has the capability to play football professionally} or to the quality of being able to use or be used in a certain way {a television with high-definition capability}. Capacity refers especially to an object's ability to hold or contain something {each sideline bench has the capacity to support 2100 pounds, just enough for the offense's front line}. Used figuratively, capacity refers to a person's physical or mental powers to learn {an astounding capacity to analyze and destroy a defense}.
  • whosever; whoever's. The first is correct in formal writing {we need to talk to whosever helmet that is}; the second is acceptable in casual usage {whoever's mouthguard went flying after the hit must surely have lost some teeth}.
Source: The Chicago Manual of Style.


Topics: adverbs, adjectives

Subscribe to Email Updates

Sign up for our emails!

Sign Up

Search Our Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all