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My sister has a problem with "passed" and "past." She recently commented thus on a Facebook post about the current flu outbreak: "When I flew this passed week, I wore a mask! I was mortified, but I can't remember the last time I flew and didn't get a cold, and I'm sick of it!" (I really wish I'd seen her in that mask.)  Continue reading...
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Lead is the name of a metallic element. Pronounced a different way, it's a verb meaning to take someone somewhere. But the past tense of the verb, led, sounds like the name of the metallic element. Confusing enough? Let Julia Rubiner clear up the situation, with a little help from rock legends Led Zeppelin.  Continue reading...
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"The voice of a generation, Dylan's albums hit the airwaves at a time when protest songs could actually influence the national discourse."

I was confronted by this sentence when I sat down to take a copyediting test that would determine whether or not I got a job as an assistant editor on a biographical reference series.  Continue reading...
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Oh, "effect" and "affect" -- why can't one of you be a noun and the other a verb? That would make life so much easier. But no, you are each a noun AND a verb and thus the inspiration for much head-scratching.  Continue reading...
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Though I became an editor partly because I enjoy finding fault in the work of others, I have on occasion tried to help my fellow man and woman right some of the more popular wrongs perpetrated against the language.  Continue reading...
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"Lets Go!!"

That's what appeared on the recently unveiled Old Navy SuperFan Nation college-football T-shirts. Yes, the second exclamation point is wholly unnecessary, but it's the missing apostrophe that really chaps my hide. And not just mine!  Continue reading...
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