1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 52 Articles

Last month, I introduced the idea of a zombie rule: a false grammar rule that is taught and followed slavishly as though it were the real thing. Like their namesakes, these rules have no life in them, but they keep returning no matter how many times their true form is revealed.  Continue reading...
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In 2005, Arnold Zwicky introduced the term zombie rule to describe a grammar rule that isn't really a rule. Zombie rules are taught, followed, and passed along as rules we must follow to speak and write correctly. Like their namesakes, however, these rules are dead and no matter how many times it's explained that there is no grammatical basis for them, they just keep coming back.  Continue reading...
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Recently on the Copyediting-L discussion board, member Levi Bookin presented this conundrum: one of his authors avoids the phrase such as to such an extreme that he seems allergic to it. Possibly, Bookin wrote, this is because he dislikes commas so much.  Continue reading...
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Some English speakers, copyeditors like myself among them, like logic. We like writing to be neat and tidy: precise words all lined up in their Sunday best, punctuation accentuating their meaning instead of overwhelming it. Which is why phrases like center around drive us crazy.  Continue reading...
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A recent blog post decried the use of and/or. Rich Adin makes the case that the conjunction is inaccurate. This, at least, is an improvement over the popular argument that and/or is "hideous" or "monstrous," but it isn't entirely true, either.  Continue reading...
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Adverbs end in -ly and modify verbs. At least, that's what we're taught in elementary school. It's a fair start, but we soon learn that adverbs are more complicated than the rule implies. For a start, adverbs can also modify adjectives, other adverbs, phrases, and clauses. And they don't have to end in -ly, either.  Continue reading...
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When the US government finally signed a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, I was quickly confused about what the deal was. On the airwaves, I heard that part of the deal would be a 2% increase in payroll taxes, yet in print, I read that there was to be a 2 percentage point increase.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 52 Articles