9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 445 Articles

In 2005, Arnold Zwicky introduced the term zombie rule to describe a grammar rule that isn't really a rule. Zombie rules are taught, followed, and passed along as rules we must follow to speak and write correctly. Like their namesakes, however, these rules are dead and no matter how many times it's explained that there is no grammatical basis for them, they just keep coming back.  Continue reading...

"He's a real nowhere man, living in a nowhere land..."
—Lennon-McCartney

That's a great lyric in a great song, but I don't recommend describing nowhere people and places as a goal for struggling writers.  Continue reading...

On the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States. But wait: is celebrated the right word? Would it be more appropriate to say Memorial Day is observed? Wendalyn Nichols, an experienced editor and lexicographer, guides us through this usage quandary.  Continue reading...

WARNING: Grammar lesson ahead.

If you ever knew what a "participle" was, you may have forgotten. Same with the word "gerund." And if you ever heard the term "fused participle," you probably zoned out completely.  Continue reading...

Recently on the Copyediting-L discussion board, member Levi Bookin presented this conundrum: one of his authors avoids the phrase such as to such an extreme that he seems allergic to it. Possibly, Bookin wrote, this is because he dislikes commas so much.  Continue reading...

The artists were being praised for their technique in which, the article said, they "use only pallet knives, not brushes." The conference attendees were told that "it's not too early to start whetting your palette for" the food expected to be served. And the article talked about a shipment of "wooden palates infested with the Asian long-horned beetle." Possibly wrong, wrong, and ouch.  Continue reading...

There are two books here. I love one of them, but I don't care for the other. Somehow, they're both Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk by Washington Post copy editor Bill Walsh.  Continue reading...

9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 445 Articles