Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This one's a 'Shoe-in' ...

From my local -- and ever thinning -- local paper, The State of Columbia, this week, some wonderful "Job Hunting 101 for New Grads" advice. To wit:

Just because you look good on paper doesn't mean you're a shoe-in for the job.

Great. Let's hope those new grads don't have to learn their language this way, because the term is shoo-in.

Turns out this comes from one of those helpful hints articles on CareerBuilder that's been out there since 2005. Time to get CareerBuilder editor Kate Lorenz a new dictionary.

(There's also this: And that doesn't mean waiting tables at your neighborhood cafe or serving drinks at your college stomping ground. As pointed out here before, the preferred term in American English is stamping ground. And this: While interviews can be nerve-wracking, employers are looking for candidates who show grace under pressure at all times. The preferred spelling is nerve-racking. But neither is so clear-cut as shoe/shoo.)

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At 4/22/09, 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there's this exchange (not all posts included) from

Angry Journalist #8510:To 8501, who wrote, “I’m not tarring all reporters with the same brush, just those who think their shit doesn’t stink and can’t handle the truth when it’s pointed out to them.”

I would think tarring with a brush would be quite difficult. Perhaps “painting” is the word for which you were looking?

Angry Journalist #8523:Dear 8510: Nice try at correcting me on word usage, but you only ended up betraying your youth and lack of experience/familiarity with expressions common to the American lexicon. Here’s a little lesson I hope you’ll learn from (and yes, it’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition in some cases, including this one since it’s not for publication):

Pick up Webster’s, look up “tar” and its various uses and you’ll see that “tarring with the same brush” means suggesting that someone has faults or obnoxious traits similar to someone else’s. It’s like guilt by association. ...

Let me also lay a little history on you: In days of yore (meaning a long time ago), sheep farmers would mark their flocks — which couldn’t be branded, for obvious reasons — in the same spot on each animal with a brush dipped in tar to distinguish them from other farmers’ sheep. That’s where the expression probably originated. ...

Angry Journalist #8529:@Dear 8523,

Touche. I hadn’t considered the possibility that you were using an ancient dialect of American English. I’m sure that your original phrasing was perfectly sensible in that language. My apologies.

At 4/29/09, 6:14 PM, Blogger Jeff S. said...

"Stamping ground"? Come on. That battle has been lost since 1854.

from Webster's:

stamping ground

: stomping ground

At 4/29/09, 8:18 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Sorry there, Jeff. But the preferred Americanism is still stamping.

Don't know what "Webster's" you're using, but my WNW4 lists "stomping ground" as the variant and refers back to "stamping ground," which gets the full entry.

Yep, it's a term in transition, which is why I said it was less clear-cut. But it's not there yet.

At 5/13/09, 9:06 AM, Blogger Diane said...

I am enjoying the back and forth even more than the article itself!
I'd like to bring attention to the fact that "its" (possessive" is being spelled as "it's" more and more often--even in the Wall Street Journal. Yikes! Could we please issue an alert?


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