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In 1835, Charles Follen wrote, "The German language is sufficiently copious and productive, to furnish native words for any idea that can be expressed at all." In Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, Ben Schott proves Follen correct, while establishing himself as the Rich Hall of German with this wonderful collection of Sniglet-like terms.  Continue reading...

Some punctuation marks hog the spotlight, like the versatile, omnipresent comma and the flirty, oft-abused semicolon. Question marks and exclamation marks — the good cop, bad cop of punctuation — are forever in your face. The period subtly but emphatically makes its presence known, while parentheses are off gossiping and tittering like teenage girls. These are the usual suspects most people think of when it comes to punctuation.  Continue reading...

I'm jealous.

That's my 2-word review of How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark, who I assume will appreciate the brevity.  Continue reading...

Much like the government, the English spelling system is a popular punching bag. People love to kvetch about its inconsistencies and exceptions, lamenting the near-impossible task of learning to spell.  Continue reading...

How to Not Write Bad — by the prolific Ben Yagoda — is an original, amusing, practical take on the writing self-help book. Yagoda points out that most writing book are about writing well, then makes the refreshing observation that writing well is beyond most people.  Continue reading...

Any news event brings new terms and phrases to life while reinvigorating old ones. Look how the recent Presidential election spread malarkey, binders full of women, and bayonets across headlines and tweets. Forevermore, those words will jog the memory of anyone who was paying attention to the 2012 election.  Continue reading...

Late last year, there was some controversy in the media over a new book by Sarah Ogilvie about the Oxford English Dictionary's historical coverage of foreign words. The controversy turned out to be a tempest in a teapot, overshadowing the worthy book behind it. Here, Mark Peters has an appreciation of Ogilvie's Words of the World.  Continue reading...

1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 179 Articles