5 6 7 8 9 Displaying 43-49 of 144 Articles

Does anything signal "uneducated" more than the use of "alot?" My father, an attorney, has done more than a few criminal appeals. I've seen some of the letters he receives from his prisoner clients — they pretty much all include "alot."  Continue reading...

This is the story of two business names — both US trademarks, one for half a century and one for less than a year. Actually, it's the story of the word that's common to both trademarks. And to get directly to my point, it's about the way that one word has shifted in meaning over recent history — but only incompletely, so that both meanings coexist a little uncomfortably in semantic space, at least for me and many other speakers of American English.  Continue reading...

What's not to like about a big, roomy vehicle that can carry the kids, the dog, the groceries, and a team's worth of soccer equipment? Plenty not to like, as it turns out — if you call that vehicle a minivan, a word that's become burdened by associations with boring family life in the suburbs.  Continue reading...

Is there any logogram as elegant as the ampersand?

It's no wonder we're still using this ancient ligature millennia after it first appeared. Thanks to texting and tweeting, it's more popular than ever. After all, why expend three precious characters on "and" when the ampersand can do the job in one?  Continue reading...


Irregular spellings are old news in brand names. Lately, though, I’ve noticed an interesting new spelling trend: the doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling of one particular letter—F—at the beginning of the name.

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When robot butlers earn their rightful place in Consumer Reports, I'll let that august publication determine whether the product under scrutiny is an "it" or a "him." At this point in the history of humankind, however, there's little cause for speculation as to what is or is not an animate object.  Continue reading...

The year is still young, but I’m prepared to go out on a limb and declare 2011 the Year of the Q-Name. From Quid to Quora, from Qajack to Qire, from Qrank to Qponomics, Q names are the queens and kings (qings?) of contemporary naming. Evidence? On CrunchBase, a directory of technology companies, I counted 405 Q names. And that was after eliminating companies that incorporate place names like Qatar and Qingdao.  Continue reading...

5 6 7 8 9 Displaying 43-49 of 144 Articles