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As my sons Doug and Adam have spent more time surfing the Internet, they've seen plenty of examples of people leaving insulting comments on Facebook pages or YouTube videos just to get a reaction out of other people, who don't realize they're being played. They've also picked up the vocabulary for this kind of behavior: trolling. I've been familiar with the concept of trolling for 20 years now, but it turns out to have undergone some changes during that time.  Continue reading...

The newest Spider-Man movie is in the theaters, with a new director, new cast, and new take on Spider-Man's origin story that invites us to forget the one presented to us back in 2002. In other words, it's not a sequel, but a reboot. In August, the remake of Total Recall arrives... or is it a reimagining? What exactly is the difference between remakes, reboots, and reimaginings?  Continue reading...

In a class for speakers of English as a foreign language, Neal Whitman found himself teaching odd five-verb forms like "will have been being seen" and "would have been being seen." How did we end up with such unusual verb pile-ups?  Continue reading...

As a teenager, I got the impression that an easy way to make any insult extra-offensive was to say it carelessly, as if you were drunk. But eventually I realized that a slur is not a mumbled remark expressing general disrespect about someone. On the other hand, even the most carefully enunciated insult can qualify as a slur, provided it's grounded in race, religion, or other historical bases for discrimination.  Continue reading...

We're coming up on National Grammar Day (it's March 4th, as in "march forth"), so we asked our resident linguist Neal Whitman to tackle a topic sure to warm the cockles of grammar-lovers' hearts: helping verbs! But how many are there? And can you fit them all into a catchy song?  Continue reading...

Back in December, a small study by researchers at Long Island University got a lot of news play. Maybe you heard about it. It was about the supposed recent increase in young American women's use of vocal fry — the lowest vocal register, the one with a creaky quality to it.  Continue reading...

Quotable Moments of 2011

Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, is constantly on the lookout for new quotations that might make the cut for the next edition of his authoritative quotation dictionary. Below, find out what he thinks are the top ten quotations of 2011.  Continue reading...

3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 129 Articles