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Does anything signal "uneducated" more than the use of "alot?" My father, an attorney, has done more than a few criminal appeals. I've seen some of the letters he receives from his prisoner clients — they pretty much all include "alot."  Continue reading...
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Is there any logogram as elegant as the ampersand?

It's no wonder we're still using this ancient ligature millennia after it first appeared. Thanks to texting and tweeting, it's more popular than ever. After all, why expend three precious characters on "and" when the ampersand can do the job in one?  Continue reading...

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When robot butlers earn their rightful place in Consumer Reports, I'll let that august publication determine whether the product under scrutiny is an "it" or a "him." At this point in the history of humankind, however, there's little cause for speculation as to what is or is not an animate object.  Continue reading...
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My mother and sister seem to take more pleasure than the average bear in saying things like, "It was he" and "This is she."

Actually, the average bear takes NO pleasure in saying such things because the average bear doesn't say them; the average bear says, "It was him" and "You got 'er."  Continue reading...
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There it was again — a random capital. The offender was the "M" at the beginning of "Mother," as in "Her Mother was the first to notice she could really sing."

If it had been "Mother told me she thought I could really sing," it would have been fine and dandy because "Mother" would have been serving as a proper noun there, referring to a particular maternal figure. But when it's not standing in for a name, "mother" should not be capitalized.  Continue reading...
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Though I accepted long ago that there's no grammar in rock and roll, it's always bothered me that the Doors' otherwise splendid "Touch Me" contains the lyric "Till the stars fall from the sky for you and I" (at the crescendo of the song, no less). Of course it should be "you and me." But I rationalized, as I like to think the hyper-literate Jim Morrison must have, that "me" does not rhyme with "sky." So what's Lady Gaga's excuse?  Continue reading...
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I hate the word "webinar."

I don't mind "podcast" or "blogosphere" or "Wikipedia," and I happen to love "netiquette." But there's something about "webinar" that produces a frisson of ickiness every time I see or hear it, an inward "ew."  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 30 Articles