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Worthies from the County of Devon in southwest England caused a bit of a ruckus recently when the local government announced that they were abandoning the use of the apostrophe on all street signs in the county. This, they claimed, was to avoid "the confusion" that they thought its retention would bring. What's more — or more inaccurately "whats more" — they said that this was merely a clarifiction of what had been common practice for a long time.  Continue reading...
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Over the past couple of years, I've done several columns on massive dictionaries that have been recently completed or published, like the Dictionary of American Regional English and Green's Dictionary of Slang. Unfortunately, not all lexicographical projects have such a happy ending.  Continue reading...
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Some English speakers, copyeditors like myself among them, like logic. We like writing to be neat and tidy: precise words all lined up in their Sunday best, punctuation accentuating their meaning instead of overwhelming it. Which is why phrases like center around drive us crazy.  Continue reading...
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The phrase going forward is impossible to avoid: it is beloved by politicians, journalists, and marketers. Going forward does, however, provide an opportunity to look at the many ways that English offers to unite "now" with what may lie ahead, and the ways in which fashions in usage, among other factors, influence how speakers and writers signal their expectations or wishes.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 22-25 of 25 Articles