7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 292 Articles

As a teacher, writer and editor, I spend a significant portion of my life reminding others (and myself) that certain pairs of words are not interchangeable, although they might seem to be. Now isn't the same as know, and affect can't pinch-hit for effect. Lose vs. loose is a particular frustration as of late. However, in all of my many years of teaching and writing, no one has ever asked me whether they ought to use O or oh, and this makes me sad.  Continue reading...
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Happy Dictionary Day!

October 16th is National Dictionary Day, commemorating the birth of the great lexicographer Noah Webster. Celebrate by delving into our archive for articles about Webster and the world of dictionaries. A sampling: "Noah Webster at 250: A Visionary or a Crackpot?," "The Case for Dictionary Day," "The Birth of Webster's Dictionary," and "Dictionary Day and the Quest for All-American Words."
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Lately I've been noticing the phrase as such everywhere. It's not just a recency illusion; according to corpus data, it really is on the rise. And with that rise comes a shift in function and a corresponding effort to halt that shift.  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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Here's a shocker: People don't talk the way they write, or the way they should write. They have accents; they slur words or runthemtogether. They leave off the "g" at the end of lots of words, and they mispronounce some, forgetting an "r" in "libary" or "Febuary."  Continue reading...
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Browsing the shelves of a hushed private library recently, I came across a small book, Essays on Modern Novelists, by William Lyon Phelps. The author's name rang a faint bell, so I took the book down, blew off decades of dust, opened its stiff brown covers, and flipped through its yellowed pages, many of them still uncut.  Continue reading...
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The Chicago Manual of Style Online has a monthly Q&A called Shop Talk, and this month Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, is featured. In the interview, Ben talks about the way that technology is shaping language and how sites like the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com can engage with "digital natives."  Continue reading...
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7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 292 Articles