1 2 3 Displaying 8-14 of 17 Articles

In English, modifiers go next to the thing they modify. Dangling and misplaced modifiers are challenging because they can be difficult to spot. Often the meaning is clear enough that readers pass right over them. That doesn't mean, of course, that we shouldn't fix them.  Continue reading...
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In mid-March the convention and visitors' bureau for Cleveland, Ohio, unveiled a new branding campaign for the city of about 400,000. The campaign, developed after "years of research" and many focus groups, had a theme, a logo, a website, and a hashtag. What it didn't have, the bureau insisted, was a slogan.  Continue reading...
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On Twitter, the single word "blessed" has been pressed into service as a popular hashtag, often appended to self-serving portrayals of enviable lifestyles. The overuse of "#blessed" has led to a backlash against the hashtag, and now it frequently appears in tweets sarcastically. Has "#blessed" run its course? Our own Ben Zimmer joined in a discussion about the shelf-life of hashtags on Huffington Post Live.  Continue reading...
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Here's the most dangerous thing I've ever done: When I was about 25, I went on a spur-of-the-moment hiking trip with an athletic friend who was back in Vancouver, where I live, for a visit. I didn't know where we were going, so I just threw on my hiking boots and grabbed a pack and the food I was asked to bring.  Continue reading...
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The first line of a novel has to accomplish many things at once. It has to grab the reader in some way with its immediacy, but also effectively introduce the rest of the book. A great opening line isn't a tweet, and it can withstand all the spoilers in the world, because literature is something thought through, and the pleasures are deeper than the next immediate payoff.  Continue reading...
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Six years ago, Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, stirred up some controversy over the origins of the famous Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Shapiro cast doubt on the popular attribution of the saying to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. But now Shapiro has gained some serenity of his own by concluding that Niebuhr really did originate the prayer.  Continue reading...
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In Miss MacDonald's fourth-grade classroom in P.S. 206, in Brooklyn, New York, I had my tracing paper in front of me, unzipped my pencil case, picked up my sharply pointed #2 pencil, and I placed the transparent paper on top of the picture of the paperback bird guide drawing of the owl.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 Displaying 8-14 of 17 Articles