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Blog Excerpts

Blergh! Saying Farewell to "30 Rock"

The NBC comedy "30 Rock" is ending its seven-season run, and Slate's Browbeat blog has an appreciation of the show's linguistic legacy, from "Blergh!" to "I want to go to there." And check out what our euphemism-wrangler Mark Peters had to say about the show in his column, "Good God, Lemon! A 30 Rock Euphem-palooza."
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If you've been following the strange saga of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, then you've likely come across the term "catfishing" to describe the type of prank he fell victim to, in which a romantic interest turns out to be nothing more than a fabricated online identity. The term comes from the 2010 documentary "Catfish," but as I describe in my latest Boston Globe column, it's not the first time that a cinematic depiction has spawned a new verb.  Continue reading...
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Some writers go to great lengths to find synonyms for things or acts that they have to refer to repeatedly in a story. They seem to have the idea that this adds flavor and depth and style to their writing. Actually, it can add a thick layer of B.S. and to demonstrate quite clearly why supposed synonyms are not necessarily fungible.  Continue reading...
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Over the years of teaching English as a foreign language, I've noticed how some of my students adopt some of the throwaway words and phrases that I use unthinkingly. The two words that are adopted most are stuff and thing (though I just as easily say thingy while waving a hand to indicate that I don't know or can't remember the correct word).  Continue reading...
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Trying to teach journalists the finer points of law is nearly as hard as trying to teach them the finer points of math. So the advice often is boiled down to overly simplistic "rules": A house is "burglarized," but a person is "robbed."  Continue reading...
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It's awfully chilly in many places right now, so stay warm and solve this wintry crossword. Figure it out and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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After a trying few weeks, English teacher Michele Dunaway has arrived at some insights about what kids learn in school: "Here are the things schools teach, the things schools and teachers do that can never be addressed or assessed by fill-in-the-bubbles."  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 29 Articles