6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 292 Articles

For the October edition of the Visual Thesaurus crossword puzzle, we've got a Halloween-themed crossword. Figure it out and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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For two weeks we highlighted phrases that are written from what people hear, sometimes with amusing results. A reader asked: "Aren't all those [examples] mondegreens, like 'very close veins' when 'varicose veins' is meant?" Yes and know.  Continue reading...
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Recently a reader of the Copyediting newsletter (which I edit) asked me about the phrase take a decision. Shouldn't it be make a decision? In researching the answer, I learned that make and take were examples of "light verbs." It's a concept that few besides linguists are concerned with, if my research is accurate, but one that if writers were more aware of could have a profound effect on their writing.  Continue reading...
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One of the most persistent myths about word acquisition is that students don't need to be taught words; they just need to read more and their vocabularies will magically expand. This theory — which I like to call "learning words by osmosis" — doesn't hold much promise for your average or struggling reader. While it may hold true for a select group of students who are strong, avid readers possessing a curiosity about words, most students don't learn words by simply encountering them in reading.  Continue reading...
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For about four decades in the 20th century, rhyme ruled American advertising. The period between the 1940s and the 1970s was the golden age of ad jingles and rhyming slogans. Today, ads rarely incorporate verse — and when they do appear, it's often awkwardly executed, derivative, or barely recognizable as rhyme. What happened?  Continue reading...
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With the government shutdown over and the default crisis averted, what many commentators called a "game of chicken" has finally ended on Capitol Hill. In my latest column for the Wall Street Journal, I take a look at how political stare-downs earned this appellation, and how chickens became animalistic symbols of cowardice in the first place.  Continue reading...
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Last week, we talked about some idioms that have been twisted by people who write them as they hear them, not as the phrase should read. Here are some more. Some of these twisted phrases make some sense, because they use words that seem to fit in the phrase, until you really dig into them.  Continue reading...
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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 292 Articles