Something funny happened the other night. At the time, it was a bit irritating, but there is a lesson to learn from it.

My wife and I like to order in a pizza and watch a movie on our big screen on Friday or Saturday night. Well, last Friday was no exception. I dialed up the local pizza chain and ordered a supreme pizza with black olives on only half of it. Unfortunately, that is not the way I phrased my special request. I said, “I want a supreme pizza with only black olives on half of it.” As soon as I hung up the phone, I said to myself, oh no, he wouldn’t.

Sure enough, the pizza arrived as I had feared. Half of it was a supreme pizza, and the other half had nothing on it but black olives. Really? Beth and our son broke into hysterics. There it was, half a pizza with all the fixins and the other half nothing but the crust and a sprinkling of black olives. And wouldn’t you know, I am the one that likes black olives.

So, what is the lesson in all of this? This incident is a good illustration of how important it is to use proper syntax when speaking to others. Instead of ordering a supreme pizza with black olives on only half of it, I ordered a supreme pizza with only black olives on half of it. See the difference? One way says with black olives on only half of the pizza, where the other says only black olives on half the pizza.

Just in case you are wondering, we did call the pizza place and complained, to which they gave us credit toward our next purchase. But as I think back on it, it was my own fault. After all, he did send me what I asked for, a supreme pizza with only black olives on half of it. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

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