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One Space or Two?

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Is typing two spaces after a period “totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong?” Also, is the language of the movie True Grit historically accurate? Also, shut your pie-hole, Southern grammar, oh my Lady Gaga, and a little town called “Podunk.” This episode first aired February 13, 2011.

How Many Spaces?

 How many spaces go after a period? Your schoolteacher may have taught you to use two, but others strongly disagree.


 Shut your piehole! means “Shut your mouth!” Need more slang terms for the mouth? For starters, there’s potato trap, tater trap, tatty trap, bun trap, gingerbread trap, kissing trap, fly trap, rattle trap, baconhole, and cakehole.

Podunk, America

 Where is Podunk? Grant explains that a columnist in the 1800s used the name for his series called “Life in the Small Town of Podunk,” referring to a generic backwoods American town.

Hard-Boiled Egg in Ceviche

 A listener shares a phrase he learned in Peru that translates as “more lost than a hard-boiled egg in ceviche.” It describes someone who’s lost or clueless.

Cryptic Crosswords Word Game

 Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a word game worthy of the Saturday puzzle called “Cryptic Crosswords.”

Formal Movie Language

 Is the excessively formal language in “True Grit” (2010) historically accurate? The hosts discuss why the Coen brothers would do away with contractions to set a tone for the movie.

Regardless vs. Irregardless

 A transplant from Zimbabwe finds the word irregardless annoying and ungrammatical. Grant explains that regardless of its status, “irregardless” is needlessly redundant.

Oh, My Goodness!

 The phrase “Oh, my goodness!” may be a dated way to express surprise or disbelief. A listener asks for a contemporary replacement.

Multiple Modals

 Multiple modals, as in the phrase “I thought y’all may would have some more of them,” have their own logic and are well understood by many in the American South. The Database of Multiple Modals compiled by Paul Reed and Michael Montgomery is here.

You’re a Card

 If you call someone a card, it means they’re funny or quick-witted. Grant and Martha discuss the metaphors inspired by the language of playing cards.

What Would You Serve Game

 What do you serve to a lawyer coming to dinner? A listener shares her riddle for the “What Would You Serve” game?

Trip the Light Fantastic

 Have you been asked to trip the light fantastic? This phrase, meaning “dance the night away,” dates back to a poem by John Milton from 1640.


 Martha shares the German slang term niveaulimbo, meaning “a limbo of standards.”

Lb. Abbreviation

 Why is the word pound abbreviated lb.? A listener from Tijuana, Mexico, learns that the answer relates to his native Spanish as well as the Latin term for “weighing.”

Neruda Love Sonnet

 Martha reads a love sonnet by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Here’s the text of the original Spanish, with an English translation by Mark Eisner. And here’s a lovely audio rendering of the poem in Spanish.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by veganLazySmurf. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Episode

TransatlanticQuanticApricot MorningTru Thoughts
The 5th ExoticQuanticThe 5th ExoticTru Thoughts
Live Right NowEddie HarrisPlug Me InAtlantic
Mishaps HappeningQuanticMishaps HappeningUbiquity Records
It’s CrazyEddie HarrisPlug Me InAtlantic
PowerhouseChester ThompsonPowerhouseBlack Jazz
Whiter Shade Of PaleProcol HarumProcol HarumSALVO
More Bounce To The OunceZapp & RogerMore Bounce To The Ounce And Other HitsFlashback
Let’s Call The Whole Thing OffFred AstarieFred Astaire’s Finest HourVerve

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