9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 488 Articles

Many people complain about the use of elecrocute to mean "to shock non-lethally." But as with most usage complaints, it's not that simple. The argument is that electrocute only means "to kill with electricity," not "to shock with electricity." The purists have etymology on their side — but only to a degree.  Continue reading...

I had a lot of fun asking my social media community, friends and family about their word quirks, specifically words they've misread (and, thus, mispronounced). Everyone seems to have one or two — maybe more — of these. I found that they can sometimes be quite revealing.  Continue reading...

When I learned I was pregnant with triplets, 20 years ago, I was desperate to know their gender. Did I, God forbid, have three boys? (In my mid-30s, I was sure I didn't have the energy for that!) Now, with the benefit of many years of parenting, I can recognize my desire for that knowledge as not just mere curiosity. It arose out of my intolerance for ambiguity.  Continue reading...

English language users have long struggled with lie, meaning "to recline," and lay, meaning "to put down." Many of the traditional English Christmas carols we hear at this time of year were written or translated during the 19th century and use lie and lay distinctly.  Continue reading...

Stories, we learn in school, must have beginnings, middles, and ends. Creating each leg of the age-old triangle poses daunting challenges, yet for writers eager to write a deathless masterpiece, no challenge is more daunting than beginning.  Continue reading...

Oh, to be svelte. To be as light as felt, a suave fellow or a lass as light as a velleity, not swelling like Elvis but sweltering hot: no thicker than the drop of sweat that falls down your brow at the sight or the plucked eyebrows of a stylish lady. And stylish, yes, svelte always seems stylish, fitted, bespoke tailored.  Continue reading...

In "eminent domain," a government can seize property for public use, as long as it compensates the owner. In "imminent domain," it stands to reason, the government wants to do it NOW. Except that there is no such thing as "imminent domain." It's a mistake — a common one, but a mistake nonetheless.  Continue reading...

9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 488 Articles