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In my recent reading I've gone on a major Mark Twain kick, and with every page I read, my admiration for Twain's writing grows. William Dean Howells, a contemporary and friend, called Twain "the Lincoln of our literature," and the title rings true, both for the plainspoken American vernacular that the two mastered, and for the boldness with which they faced our democracy's ugliest stain, the enslaving of African-Americans by European-Americans.  Continue reading...
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In the latest installment of the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I take on a word that every child knows, orange, and reveal its hidden history. It's a remarkably well-traveled word, and its travels tell us a great deal about the cultural history of many of the world's great civilizations.  Continue reading...
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In every walk of life, there are things that fail to achieve what we're expecting them to. The love letter you thought was swoon-worthy falls flat. The greatest motivational technique ever is met with blank stares. Just as much as the successes though, we can learn from things that don't work. In fact, some people would say that you learn more from your missteps than from the things with a positive outcome.  Continue reading...
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Here is the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. This time she answers the question, is it copy editor or copyeditor?  Continue reading...
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Stroll through the hipper districts of any American city in 2014 and you may experience the sense of time being slightly out of joint. On shop signs and menus, words that last flourished a couple of centuries ago—or earlier—have been making a comeback. But no word from the distant past is as antique, or as popular in commerce in so many disparate ways, as apothecary.  Continue reading...
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I have a new companion. Or, at least, I've newly recognized one.

Its name is doubt.

As doubt seems to have a particular interest in befriending writers, perhaps you know doubt, too.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 177 Articles