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A law firm that specializes in defending whistleblowers has started a petition on Change.org to persuade dictionaries and thesauruses to ditch their derogatory synonyms for whistleblower in favor of positive terms.  Continue reading...
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The Plain Writing Act, which Congress passed into law in 2010, is well intentioned. Too much public writing — that includes government, business, and legal writing — is confusing and disorganized. But the law can't work, because language can't be legislated.  Continue reading...
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else.  Continue reading...
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It's that time of year when everyone is making their case for the Word of the Year. For Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language, the word of 2013 is none other than marriage.  Continue reading...
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Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Or, to put it another way, the best-known American speech is seven score and ten years old. Although it's famous, familiar, and was often memorized by schoolchildren, the text of the Gettysburg Address is uncertain: we all know the words, or many of them, but it turns out that there are many Gettysburg Addresses, not just one.  Continue reading...
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Judges, like the rest of us, turn to dictionaries when they're not sure about the meaning of a word. Or they turn to dictionaries when they're sure about a word's meaning, but they need some confirmation. Or they turn to a dictionary that defines a word the way they want it defined, rejecting as irrelevant, inadmissible, and immaterial any definitions they don't like.  Continue reading...
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Today, March 4th, is National Grammar Day. Someone who tweets under the name @DrGrammar just has to write about #NationalGrammarDay. So, in the spirit of the latest grammatical fad of starting every sentence with "so," here goes.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 51 Articles