1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 29 Articles

Your computer's keyboard has around 110 keys by which you can make your wishes known to the machine. Most of these have obvious labels: if you press the A key, the letter A appears on the screen. Some are less obvious, though — the Shift key and the mysterious Ctrl key — and in this article I'll explore why they're named what they're named.  Continue reading...
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In last night's vice-presidential debate, there was one clear winner: the word malarkey. Joe Biden used it not once but twice against Paul Ryan. First, in responding to Ryan's criticism of the Obama administration's handling of last month's attacks in Benghazi, he told Ryan, "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey." And then later, Biden euphemistically called Ryan's rhetoric "a bunch of stuff" before clarifiying, "We Irish call it malarkey."  Continue reading...
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In Vocabulary at the Core, Amy Benjamin and John T. Crow assert that word study should play a more significant role in English class and across the curriculum — as emphasized by the Common Core State Standards. In this excerpt, Benjamin and Crow explain the difference between receptive control and productive control of words and why our students' receptive vocabulary remains considerably larger than their productive vocabulary.  Continue reading...
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Ever since hippies embraced it in the '60s, granola has always had countercultural connotations. In the years since it took the country by storm, the words crunchy and granola, together and even individually, have come to act as shorthand adjectives to describe people with a streak of cultural rebellion, from vegetarians and war protesters in the '70s to hybrid electric car drivers and vaccine-rejecting parents in the 2000s.  Continue reading...
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Many of us postpone doing things we don't like. Taxes (guilty). Washing dishes (guilty, occasionally). Making the bed (at least I overcame this one 20 years ago). But the real doozie is writing. Why do so many of us defer, delay and shilly-shally about writing for so damn long?  Continue reading...
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Where do successful company and product names come from? Some are created in a flash of insight, others after months of painstaking research. And some are the result of human error. Here are the stories behind eight brands — some of them well known, some a little obscure, each interesting in its own way.  Continue reading...
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As Americans celebrate Columbus Day, it's worth reflecting on the complicated cultural and linguistic legacy that Christopher Columbus left behind. There's a single word that aptly illustrates this legacy and all of its contradictions: Indians, the mistaken name that Columbus gave to the native peoples of the Americas.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 29 Articles