1 2 3 4 Displaying 15-21 of 22 Articles

In 2005, Arnold Zwicky introduced the term zombie rule to describe a grammar rule that isn't really a rule. Zombie rules are taught, followed, and passed along as rules we must follow to speak and write correctly. Like their namesakes, however, these rules are dead and no matter how many times it's explained that there is no grammatical basis for them, they just keep coming back.  Continue reading...
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About Those Dialect Maps...

You might have seen a set of American English dialect maps making the rounds online after a Business Insider piece about the maps went viral. But where does all of that survey data come from? Our own Ben Zimmer has the story on Language Log — read his post here.
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When Fox News host Megyn Kelly gamely took on Erick Erickson, a contributor to the network, for his provocative statements about gender roles last week, she was puzzled by one word in particular that Erickson had used to describe his ideological opponents. "I don't know what the word is... some sort of liberals, eco-liberals, what did you call them?" "Emo liberals," Erickson clarified.  Continue reading...
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"He's a real nowhere man, living in a nowhere land..."
—Lennon-McCartney

That's a great lyric in a great song, but I don't recommend describing nowhere people and places as a goal for struggling writers.  Continue reading...
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I believe in equality: in society and in columns. Last month, I looked at the prolific use of gentleman in euphemisms. This month, I turn to lady. Lady euphs prove something I always suspected: the English language is seldom a well-behaved lady, but it always shows you a good time.  Continue reading...
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How To Speak Teen

Visual Thesaurus contributor James Harbeck recently appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition to give a phonetic breakdown of noises that teenagers often make. Listen to the segment here, and read more about teenage sounds on The Week here. Breathy-voiced long low back unrounded vowel with advanced tongue root, anyone?
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How much is too much? Currently a commercial for AT&T is asking if more is better, and, of course, the little kids sitting in the circle clamor that more is definitely better. In the world of writing prompts, though, more or less becomes one of those debatable things. Be too specific, and a teacher may actually be limiting student creativity. Yet, being too vague might frazzle kids completely.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 15-21 of 22 Articles