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In February, the author Gary Schmidt was interviewed by Michele Norris on NPR about his novel entitled OK for Now. Schmidt said this about the book's protagonist: "He brings all of his beat-upedness with him." "Beat-upedness"?  Continue reading...

Poking around a mall with his sons, the linguist Neal Whitman came across a sign that said, "Violators will be trespassed." It turns out that the verb trespass has picked up a new meaning in the last twenty years or so, one which hasn't yet made it into any of the dictionaries.  Continue reading...

Yesterday was National Grammar Day, and I've been thinking about one of the long-standing usage peeves. It doesn't usually make people's top 10 lists, but it's been out there since the 19th century: try and instead of try to. The usual complaint about this idiom is that it doesn't mean what people who say it seem to think it means.  Continue reading...

Kudomania!

We're in the middle of awards show season: January saw the People's Choice Awards, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the action continues this month with the Grammy Awards next week, culminating with the Academy Awards. January and February are an extended kudofest for the show business and recording industries. Yes, "kudofest."  Continue reading...

Some people have "pet peeves," while others have "pet hates." What's the difference? Are "pet peeves" particularly American? And what about "pet aversions"? Linguist Neal Whitman investigates the vocabulary of annoyance.  Continue reading...

With Election Day behind us, everyone in my swing-state household can breathe their respective sighs of relief, savoring the sudden absence of all the recorded campaign phone calls, all the back-to-back TV commercials for Romney and Obama, all the emails pleading that one candidate or another just needs 8 more dollars from each of us by the end of the day. And we can stop hearing about the fact-checking organization Politifact's truth rankings for claims made in commercials, debates, and stump speeches.  Continue reading...

Ever since hippies embraced it in the '60s, granola has always had countercultural connotations. In the years since it took the country by storm, the words crunchy and granola, together and even individually, have come to act as shorthand adjectives to describe people with a streak of cultural rebellion, from vegetarians and war protesters in the '70s to hybrid electric car drivers and vaccine-rejecting parents in the 2000s.  Continue reading...

2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 129 Articles