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What would graduation season be without complaints about the misuse of the verb graduate? Usage guides these days warn against using graduate as a transitive verb, as in "She graduated college," or "He never graduated high school." The standard phrasing uses the preposition from: "She graduated from college"; "He never graduated from high school."  Continue reading...
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The killing of Osama bin Laden by a team of Navy SEALs has brought new attention to the military term kinetic, referring to violent (or lethal) actions in the field of battle. Our resident linguist Neal Whitman takes a look to this addition to the lexicon of war.  Continue reading...
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In the past few months, Americans have probably heard more about collective bargaining than in the past few decades. I've heard and read the term collective bargaining so much recently that it has gotten me thinking about the strange nature of English gerunds.  Continue reading...
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Tomorrow is National Grammar Day, and in observance of the occasion, I'd like to recommend three resources that will prove valuable to anyone interested in grammar -- and if you are reading this column, I'd say that would be you. To give you an idea how I use them, I'll tell how they each entered into my research on a point of grammar I recently looked into.  Continue reading...
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In a publicity stunt, Toyota took out a New York Times ad, put out a YouTube video, and distributed a survey at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, asking the public what the plural of Prius should be, in a campaign announcing that there is going to be a family of Prius models. I hesitate to reward them with more publicity for such a willfully dumb question. But I can’t help myself. This is too good an excuse to talk about the wider topic of phony Latinate plurals. Well-played, Toyota.  Continue reading...
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The international diplomatic community was abuzz this week, reeling from "Cablegate," the scandalous revelation of secret diplomatic cables by Wikileaks. But what's a "cable" anyway, in this day and age? Our resident linguist Neal Whitman investigates.  Continue reading...
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In learning about the Constitution in my American history class in junior high, we learned about the Framers, checks and balances, three branches of government, and all the rest. We learned about the bicameral legislature, i.e., the two chambers of the United States Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate. But after learning all that, I wondered: Where did congressmen fit into the picture with all these representatives and senators? I'd seen campaign signs referring to "Congressman So-and-so"; I'd heard encouragements to "write your congressman!"; who were these congressmen?  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 46 Articles