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Imitation for a good reason, imitation for a stupid reason, or imitation just by instinct: "Monkey see, monkey do" covers them all. But what's with the non-standard grammar? Why isn't it "Monkey sees, monkey does"? Or "What a monkey sees, it does?"  Continue reading...
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In the thick of homecoming season and with a son in high school, I've been hearing more these days about who likes who, who's dating who, and who's unwillingly unattached at the moment. It turns out there have been some changes in the vocabulary for that situation since my high-school and college days.  Continue reading...
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The word hardcore has been getting more powerful in English for the past 80 years or so. What started as a way of describing the persistently unemployed has expanded into the domains of politics, music, and video games, not to mention general usage.  Continue reading...
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There is a new trend in concierge medicine, with concierge practices consisting of concierge doctors, concierge physicians, or maybe concierge dentists, all offering their versions of concierge healthcare. How did the word for the guy in the hotel lobby who can get you show tickets, a restaurant reservation, or almost anything else you need, come to refer to this kind of ultra-personalized medical care?  Continue reading...
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When I was in elementary school, and was being taught the difference between fact and opinion, I wondered how to classify statements like "There are 51 states in the United States." It wasn't true, so it wasn't a fact, but on the other hand, it didn't seem to involve the kind of judgment that we were learning to identify with opinions.  Continue reading...
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Early trailers for movies are often teasers, which do little more than tell fans that some movie is in the works. But as the release date approaches, these trailers give away key moments of the plot and spoil the experience for many viewers. In earlier years, you teased people and spoiled things. But you can now tease things and spoil people. What happened?  Continue reading...
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In February, the author Gary Schmidt was interviewed by Michele Norris on NPR about his novel entitled OK for Now. Schmidt said this about the book's protagonist: "He brings all of his beat-upedness with him." "Beat-upedness"?  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 49 Articles