Here are some questions I asked myself recently and, hopefully, the answers!
Why do people say ‘It’s the bee’s knees’?
There isn’t a clear origin of the phrase ‘the bee’s knees’ (which means very good, amazing etc.) but he are a couple of theories.
- The Shakespeare play Macbeth contained a phrase ‘the be-all and end-all’ (which meant the most important). It is thought people could have shortened this to ‘the B’s and E’s’ which sounds like ‘the bee’s knees’
- Bees have no knees so a bee with knees will be a very special and important bee.
- Bees have a joint similar to the knee where they store pollen, without the bee’s ‘knees’ they would be very less important and interesting.
Why do you write e.g. for example instead of ex.?
E.g stands for ‘exempli gratia’ (latin for ‘for example’). On the same subject, i.e stands for ‘id est’ (latin for ‘that is’). So in a sentence you could say… I went to my favorite place today (i.e. the library) and I was looking for a classic book (e.g. Great Expeditions, The Lord of the Rings), unfortunately I didn’t find one so I got a picture book out instead.
When do you use (these) and when do you use [these]?
There are two main types of brackets. Round brackets (also called parentheses) are used to enclose information that, if you removed it, the sentence would still make sense. For example:
I looked to the left and saw a boy (wearing jeans and a scruffy t-shirt) standing there holding a water gun to my head.
Square brackets are most commonly used to state that the said information was not said/written by the original author. For example in newspaper articles, when quoting someone, you would use square brackets to give extra information where needed.
“He [the suspect] ran very quickly from John [the police officer].”