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I consider myself a reasonably fluent speaker of Fashionspeak, a dialect distinguished by peculiar adjectives ("statement" necklace, "boyfriend" jacket), enigmatic abbreviations (boho, bodycon, cami), and a bullying use of the imperative mood ("must-have," "dos and don'ts"). Nevertheless, I sometimes find myself staring in puzzlement at a fashion headline, trying to decode an unlikely usage of a word I thought I knew. This season, that word is "tribal."  Continue reading...
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You've read the advice to writers: Strive for clarity! Make your meaning transparent! Your sentences should be lucid and understandable, your paragraphs logically constructed, your meaning readily accessible to your readers. Who could quarrel with that?  Continue reading...
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If untraditional grammar drives you around the bend, I suggest you steer clear of automobile ads this season. In particular, you'll want to take a detour to avoid Mercedes-Benz's tagline for the 2012 C-class coupe: "More power. More style. More technology. Less doors." And for your own safety, please pull over to the shoulder if you chance upon an ad for the 2012 Honda Civic that proclaims "To each their own." You don't want to risk the road rage.  Continue reading...
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In September, Domino's Pizza -- the second-largest pizza chain in the United States, with annual revenue approaching $1.5 billion -- introduced "Artisan Pizzas" to its 5,000 stores nationwide. Are you picturing skilled workers up to their elbows in whole-grain flour and locally sourced tomatoes, lovingly patting each pie into a charmingly irregular shape? Well, forget about it.  Continue reading...
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If you want to stir up interest in your blog post or online article, start a discussion about "corporate jargon we all hate" or "buzzwords to be banished." Your readers will oblige with a flood of submissions: "best practices," "value proposition," "change agent," "metrics," and so on. Eventually, and inevitably, someone will offer up a verb phrase that, to innocent ears, sounds like ordinary English: reach out. And the yelps of outraged affirmation will commence.  Continue reading...
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A television commercial for the laundry detergent Gain is getting under the skin of the grammatically minded. The commercial shows a man getting dressed and smelling his newly laundered shirt, as the announcer says, "Bill's mornings have never been gooder thanks to something amazing we've added to Gain." That one little word, gooder, has set off a storm of protests — which may be exactly what Procter & Gamble, the makers of Gain, are looking for.  Continue reading...
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At the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota is taking a poll to determine what the plural of "Prius" should be. It's all part of their "Prius goes plural" ad campaign, as they unveil three new Prius models. The Detroit Free Press consulted with some experts, including Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer, to get their take on how to pluralize the Latin-sounding car name.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 34 Articles