1 2 Displaying 1-7 of 8 Articles

We take for granted much of a book's white space: margins; paragraph indents; section breaks; extra space given to chapter-opening pages; extra space at the end of chapters left blank. Yet white space plays a crucial role in writing.  Continue reading...
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If you're a fan of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I have some bad news for you: The English language is notoriously anti-minimalist. English loves multiples and hangs onto old words while continuously adding new ones. I could dig up many examples, but today I want to talk about just one pair, crisp and crispy, both of which mean essentially the same thing. Except when they don't.  Continue reading...
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Though I made a case for alt-right as 2016's Euphemism of the Year, the American Dialect Society went in another direction, those rascals! They selected locker-room talk, which is a pretty solid euphemism, though I'm not sure it made the top ten twaddlesome terms of 2016. This year is young, but there's already a candidate I suspect everyone and their uncle is going to support or at least suggest for 2017's euphemism of the year: alternative facts.  Continue reading...
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When I open an email that a spam filter has misdirected I'm rarely in doubt about whether it is or isn't spam, and the basis of my certainty is nearly always linguistic. For me, the reasons that spam fails so colossally to convince can be divided into two convenient categories of linguistic analysis: lexical and pragmatic.  Continue reading...
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There are some people we might describe as "Natural Writers." They write facilely and prolifically. They don't suffer from writer's block. But they also have some problems.  Continue reading...
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At its annual meeting the American Dialect Society selected dumpster fire as its word of the year for 2016 and set a precedent by including an emoji in its announcement of the vote.  Continue reading...
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The American Dialect Society will be meeting in early January to present papers and share research about our ever-evolving language. They'll also pick the Word of the Year, along with many other categories—including Euphemism of the Year. Here's a list of suggested contenders.  Continue reading...
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1 2 Displaying 1-7 of 8 Articles