7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 476 Articles

It's that time of year when everyone is making their case for the Word of the Year. For Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language, the word of 2013 is none other than marriage.  Continue reading...

In a comical scene in the film The Princess Bride, the character Inigo Montoya has finally had enough of hearing the bad guy Vizzini say "Inconceivable!" when things are not only conceivable, but just keep happening. Montoya is finally moved to say, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."  Continue reading...

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...

7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 476 Articles