You thought you learned them in grade school. You know, the parts of speech, those eight basic elements of making meaning. But here's a little secret: Those seemingly demure parts of speech are, in practice, naughty cross-dressers.

In his book, "When You See an Adjective, Kill It", writing and language expert Ben Yagoda asks us to consider the title of the reality television show "Pimp My Ride." It's a show in which the most broken-down jalopies are transformed into customized masterpieces.

So let's break down that title: Pimp (well that's a noun, right, a street guy who manages ladies of the evening). And Ride (well that's got to be a verb because it describes an action, what you do in a car).

But wait a minute: Yagoda shows us that in this title Pimp turns into a verb meaning "to make worthy of a pimp" and Ride turns into a noun, a word that by its action describes an automobile. Wow, who knew that the parts of speech could be so interesting -- and problematic.

In this week's writing chat, Yagoda -- a blogger, journalist, biographer, author, social networker and an influential teacher at the University of Delaware -- talked about how our infinitives split and our participles dangle (no offense, Ben).

You can replay the chat here: