8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 466 Articles

Recently a reader of the Copyediting newsletter (which I edit) asked me about the phrase take a decision. Shouldn't it be make a decision? In researching the answer, I learned that make and take were examples of "light verbs." It's a concept that few besides linguists are concerned with, if my research is accurate, but one that if writers were more aware of could have a profound effect on their writing.  Continue reading...

Last week, we talked about some idioms that have been twisted by people who write them as they hear them, not as the phrase should read. Here are some more. Some of these twisted phrases make some sense, because they use words that seem to fit in the phrase, until you really dig into them.  Continue reading...

Lately I've been noticing the phrase as such everywhere. It's not just a recency illusion; according to corpus data, it really is on the rise. And with that rise comes a shift in function and a corresponding effort to halt that shift.  Continue reading...

Here's a shocker: People don't talk the way they write, or the way they should write. They have accents; they slur words or runthemtogether. They leave off the "g" at the end of lots of words, and they mispronounce some, forgetting an "r" in "libary" or "Febuary."  Continue reading...

Browsing the shelves of a hushed private library recently, I came across a small book, Essays on Modern Novelists, by William Lyon Phelps. The author's name rang a faint bell, so I took the book down, blew off decades of dust, opened its stiff brown covers, and flipped through its yellowed pages, many of them still uncut.  Continue reading...

There is nothing worse than feeling sick and having to write. (Well, feeling sick and having to lift bricks might come close.) If you ever face this problem, here are five tips.  Continue reading...

These days, one often sees mentions of "vocal chords" and "digestive tracks." These spellings are both logical, both frequently seen, and both incorrectly spelled (for now).  Continue reading...

8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 466 Articles