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"I ought to know better, but I know naught about the difference between aught and nought" is a sentence sure to make more than one head spin.  Continue reading...
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Sentences have destinations, the place you want your readers to go to absorb the information you're delivering. Sentences that mislead readers are called "garden path" sentences, because they take readers in unexpected directions, the way someone who has been "led down the garden path" has been misled.  Continue reading...
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Whilst we often lament that language has become too informal, there are times when we try to make it too formal, and thusly too stiff-upper-lipist. "Amongst" and "amidst" are perfectly fine words, listed in dictionaries and everything, but they fall a bit on the "I know big words" scale of writing.  Continue reading...
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We have occasionally invoked Tom Lehrer when discussing how the simple letter "e" can change the meaning of many words, citing his song "Silent 'E.'" That "e" can also magically change a word into another form, such as a noun into a verb. This being illogical English, there are few "rules" as to what it does, though.  Continue reading...
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Sometimes, a photo "ekes out of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out extra mileage" in cars. And in a more familiar usage, a movie "shows how a once-budding folk singer tries to eke out a living." It's no wonder, then, that most people think "eke out" means to achieve something through effort, to barely get by.  Continue reading...
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When coming up with adjectives for made-up things, we have many to choose among: fictional, fictitious, or fictive, or even factitious. Choose wisely, or risk saying something you don't mean.  Continue reading...
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When it gets cold and wintry, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "alongside acts of goodwill and kindness, a major storm like this also brings out bad actors who take advantage of their customers." (If they're lousy at pretending to be good Samaritans, why are they a threat?)  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 59 Articles