An Advertisement That Does Not ‘Ad’ Up

There is a televised advertisement on behalf of McDonald’s screening in Australia. It features an Australian octogenarian couple, seated together in a park. The lady produces a slip of paper and asks of the gentleman if he remembers having handed it to her when she was sixteen. The handwritten admission reads: “IOU $6”. Without having received a verbal response, the lady informs the elderly man that it’s time to, as she puts it, ‘cough up’ — with the intent being of then spending it at ‘Maccas’. So far, so good!

However, I wasn’t born yesterday (my birthday was on the day before!) and having seen the advertisement twice or thrice I remarked to Tiki that its producers hadn’t done their homework, for if the lady is, indeed, in her eighties, or even her seventies, the IOU would have been expressed in pounds, shillings and pence.

Australia did not change to decimal currency until February of 1966.


A Rule Of Spelling: Delete The ‘E’ And Add A ‘Y’

When we write words such as shine, smoke, scale, bone, ice, shake, stone, brine, slime, grime, wire… in their adjectival form, the above rule of spelling is applicable.

Hence: shiny ribbon, smoky sky, scaly skin, bony leg, icy waters, shaky hands, stony path, briny liquid, slimy pond, grimy surface, wiry figure.

Therefore, shouldn’t we spell the colloquial adjectives pricy and dicy, as such? Although I must admit that I prefer the usage of dear, expensive or exorbitant and risky, perilous, hazardous, dangerous or unsafe, respectively.

It would appear that the rule applies when the noun’s penultimate letter is a consonant.

Not On The Menu!

I recall one lunchtime, and how a colleague suddenly exclaimed: “This tastes like s—!”

“I’ve never eaten excrement, so I wouldn’t know!”, I quipped.

The Top 40 Fantasies: No.6

  1. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1972)                                                                                                                                                                               Roberta Flack
  2. Rocket “88” (1951)                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jackie Brenston; (pianist: Ike Turner)
  3. Crimson And Clover (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                           Tommy James and The Shondells
  4. I’ll Never Smile Again (1940)                                                                                                                                                      Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra; vocals: Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers
  5. Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) (1961)                                                                                                                                                                                                 Sue Thompson
  6. Jack And Diane (1982)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Cougar
  7. Il Silenzio (1965)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nini Rosso
  8. Be My Baby (1963)                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Ronettes
  9. One O’Clock Jump (1938)                                                                                                                                                                                                       Harry James and his Orchestra
  10. Lonely Teardrops (1958)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Jackie Wilson
  11. One O’Clock Jump (1937 and 1947)                                                                                                                                                                                       Count Basie and his Orchestra
  12. Go Now! (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Moody Blues
  13. While You See A Chance (1981)                                                                                                                                                                                                       Steve Winwood
  14. You Mean Everything To Me (1960)                                                                                                                                                                                               Neil Sedaka
  15. Last Chance To Turn Around (1965)                                                                                                                                                                                               Gene Pitney
  16. You Are My First Love (1956)                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruby Murray
  17. Help Is On Its Way (1977)                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Little River Band
  18. You Are My Sunshine (1941)                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bing Crosby
  19. Padre (1958)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Toni Ardern
  20. Jackson (1967)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
  21. Mexico (1961)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bob Moore
  22. Zabadak! (1967)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
  23. Computer Games (1979)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mi-Sex
  24. Above And Beyond (1960)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Buck Owens
  25. Right Said Fred (1962)                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bernard Cribbins
  26. C’mon Everybody (1958)                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eddie Cochran
  27. Girls Talk (1979)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dave Edmunds
  28. Jennifer Eccles (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Hollies
  29. Hula Love (1957)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Buddy Knox
  30. Breathe (1997)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Prodigy
  31. Hold Me Now (1983)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Thompson Twins
  32. Shame, Shame, Shame (1975)                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shirley (And Company)
  33. S-S-S-Single Bed (1976)                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Fox
  34. Le Chaland Qui Passe (1934)                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tino Rossi
  35. Abigail Beecher (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Freddy Cannon
  36. A Bushel And A Peck (1950)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Doris Day
  37. Simon Says (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The 1910 Fruitgum Co.
  38. Top Forty, News, Weather And Sports (1961)                                                                                                                                                                                    Mark Dinning
  39. Mr. Custer (1960)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Larry Verne
  40. Toast And Marmalade For Tea (1971)                                                                                                                                                                                               Tin Tin


Articulate English: Apostrophe Of Possession

Sadly, many children have no idea when it comes to using the apostrophe of possession correctly. They will be writing when, suddenly, they presumably think to themselves that they haven’t used one of those ‘commas in the air’ and proceed to use one in a word that bears no connection to ownership.

Even worse, from what I have witnessed on television, quite a few adults do not place such an apostrophe in the correct position, either!

I trust that the following is of help to those who are unsure.

I find that if one inverts the relevant part of a sentence, where to place the apostrophe of possession becomes more obvious.

Example: the babys bottle becomes “the bottle of the baby”

In this instance the apostrophe is placed after the last word in the inversion, which, in this case is ‘baby’. All that remains to be done then, is to add the ess: the baby’s bottle.

Example: the babies bottles becomes “the bottles of the babies”

As ‘babies’ is plural, we only add the apostrophe after the last word ‘babies’, hence, the babies’ bottles.

Example: Smithville Girls High School becomes “Smithville High School (for) Girls”.

Again, the same rule applies and the apostrophe is placed after the last word, namely ‘Girls’.

As ‘Girls’ is plural no ess needs to be added: Smithville Girls’ High School.

Example: Mothers Day becomes “a day for mothers”

Applying the same rule, it becomes Mothers’ Day.


Sometimes a second ess should be sounded and, therefore, added.

Examples: Spartacus’ sword (“the sword of Spartacus”) becomes Spartacus’s sword.

Hughes’ boatshed (“the boatshed of the Hugheses”) becomes Hughes’s boatshed.

Amos’ pride (“the pride of Amos”) becomes Amos’s pride.


Inarticulate English: Nouns Should Not Be Used In Place Of Adjectives

Just as our democracy is under stress, so is our language.

All too often we are inundated with nouns being used in place of adjectives:

miracle event, hero act, Denmark gentleman, history failure, Japan yen, crisis meeting, Europe correspondent, architecture company, fake insinuation, muscle spasm, monster garage…

The above should read:

miraculous event, heroic act, Danish gentleman, historic/historical failure, Japanese yen, critical meeting, European correspondent, architectural company, fictitious insinuation, muscular spasm, monstrous garage.


The Top 40 Fantasies No.5

1. Swanee (1920)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Al Jolson

2. Born To Be Wild (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Steppenwolf

3.  You I Know (1987)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Jenny Morris

4.  The Boys (1962)                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Shadows

5. Summer In The City (1966)                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Lovin’ Spoonful

6. Bits And Pieces (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Dave Clark Five

7. I Only Want To Be With You (1963)                                                                                                                                                                                              Dusty Springfield

8. If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time (1950)                                                                                                                                                                   Lefty Frizzell

9. Halfway To Paradise (1961)                                                                                                                                                                                                             Billy Fury

10. Haji Baba (1954)                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Nat ‘King’ Cole

11. Race With The Devil (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Gun

12. Golden Earrings (1947)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Peggy Lee

13. Fox On The Run (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Manfred Mann

14. Tom Dooley (1958)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Kingston Trio

15. Mountain Of Love (1960)                                                                                                                                                                                                                Harold Dorman

16. At The Hop (1957)                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Danny And The Juniors

17. Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down (1969)                                                                                                                                                                                          Ray Stevens

18. Mountain Of Love (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                Johnny Rivers

19. Free Me (1978)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Uriah Heep

20.  So Tired (1949)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Kay Starr

21. Wild Weekend (1968)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bill Anderson

22. Bongo Rock (1959)                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Preston Epps

23. Grenade (2010)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bruno Mars

24. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (1956)                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Five Keys

25. Shakin’ All Over (1960)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Johnny Kidd and The Pirates

26. Woman Of The World (Leave My World Alone) (1969)                                                                                                                                                              Loretta Lynn

27. I Need You (1977)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Joe Dolan

28. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean (1953)                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Brown

29. Motor Biking (1975)                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Chris Spedding

30. Here In My Heart (1952)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Al Martino

31. Party Girl (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Tommy Roe

32. Shakin’ All Over (1965)                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Normie Rowe and The Playboys

33. So Much In Love (1964)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Mighty Avengers

34. On A Slow Boat To China (1948)                                                                                                                                                                                  Benny Goodman and his Orchestra: vocalist, Al Hendrickson

35. Woody Woodpecker (1948)                                                                                                                                                                   Kay Kyser and his Orchestra: vocals, Gloria Wood and The Campus Kids

36. Bigelow 6-200 (1956)                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brenda Lee

37. Going – Going – Gone! (1954)                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Johnnie Ray

38. Too Many Do-Goods (1973)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tom T. Hall

39. On Top Of Old Smoky (1951)                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Weavers

40. On Top Of Spaghetti (1963)                                                                                                                                                                               Tom Glazer and The Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus



Answers to ‘How Dinky-di Are You? No.3’

1. Sidelevers

2. Draughts

3. Brumby

4. Garbage/Rubbish bin

5. Racecourse

6. Car park

7. Cobber

8. Lawyer

9. Station

10. Full stop

11. Holiday-maker

12. Shanghai



12 correct answers means that you are ‘Ridgy Didge Dinky-di’

10 or 11: almost ‘Ridgy Didge’

6-9: a ‘Ridgy Didge’ impersonator

Five or less: Censored (sit for the test, again, next week)



How Dinky-di Are You? No. 3

How Australian are you?

Can you provide the ‘dinky-di’ equivalents to the following?


1. Sideboards, Sideburns

2. Checkers

3. Bronco

4. Dustbin, Ash can, Trash can

5. Racetrack

6. Parking lot

7. Mate, Buddy, Chum, Pal

8. Attorney

9. Ranch

10. Period (punctuation)

11. Vacationer

12. Slingshot


The answers, together with your rating, can be found at the end of ‘The Top 40 Fantasies No.5’.

Inarticulate English: When ‘Ain’t’ Isn’t ‘Isn’t’ (or ‘Aren’t’), But Should Be

Time was when the usage of the word ain’t was confined to those who were less well educated.

Now, it has become seemingly chic for those who purport to be learned to use it ad infinitum.

Such people include Tim Wonnacott of the British series, ‘Bargain Hunt’ and here, at home, broadcaster, Alan Jones, and David Koch of the programme, ‘Sunrise’.

Hypocritically, the two Australians are always among those who are the first to decry the fact that the written skills of local children, in English, continue to decline or, at least languish where they are.


Encourage your children from an early age not to use the word ain’t, but rather contractions that that should replace its usage in formal English.

The train ain’t coming. The train isn’t coming.

They ain’t got a dog. They haven’t a dog.

Five people ain’t hungry. Five people aren’t hungry.

The family ain’t got much money. The family hasn’t much money.

Articulate English: Collective Nouns Take Singular Verbs

As collective nouns place like objects or things in single groupings, such a noun takes a singular verb.

Therefore, in the following sentences the usage of the verb ‘are’ is grammatically incorrect.

The crowd are becoming restless.

The team are playing well.

The series are about living within one’s means.

A range of antiques are to be auctioned.


Although a ‘crowd’ is comprised of many people, there is only one crowd and, therefore, the noun should take the singular verb ‘is’ and not the plural (more than one) verb ‘are”.

The crowd is becoming restless.

Similarly, there is only one ‘team’, ‘series’ and ‘range’.


Therefore, their respective sentences should read:

The team is playing well.

The series is about living within one’s means.

A range of antiques is to be auctioned.

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