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We'd like to welcome Jonathon Owen, a copy editor and book designer with a master's degree in linguistics, as our newest regular contributor! Here Jonathon explains how he discovered that an oft-quoted example of George Orwell using singular "they" turned out not to be by Orwell after all.  Continue reading...
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Sites to motivate, challenge... and entertain students who are stuck on grammar.  Continue reading...
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English teachers used to drill into students that they did not "feel good." They "felt well." It was the corollary to "I feel bad," not "I feel badly," to which many teachers would reply something like: "Well, maybe if you took off your gloves, you could feel better." "Good," "well," "bad," and "badly" all define how you feel, but not in the same way, grammatically.  Continue reading...
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Worthies from the County of Devon in southwest England caused a bit of a ruckus recently when the local government announced that they were abandoning the use of the apostrophe on all street signs in the county. This, they claimed, was to avoid "the confusion" that they thought its retention would bring. What's more — or more inaccurately "whats more" — they said that this was merely a clarifiction of what had been common practice for a long time.  Continue reading...
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Yesterday was National Grammar Day, and I've been thinking about one of the long-standing usage peeves. It doesn't usually make people's top 10 lists, but it's been out there since the 19th century: try and instead of try to. The usual complaint about this idiom is that it doesn't mean what people who say it seem to think it means.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

How Are You Celebrating National Grammar Day?

Happy National Grammar Day, all you grammar-heads! To celebrate, you might enjoy reading through the contributions to the annual Grammar Haiku Contest. (Congratulations to the winners — full results are here). And check out Jen Doll's piece for The Atlantic Wire about how best to celebrate the day (featuring an interview with our own Ben Zimmer) here.
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Today, March 4th, is National Grammar Day. Someone who tweets under the name @DrGrammar just has to write about #NationalGrammarDay. So, in the spirit of the latest grammatical fad of starting every sentence with "so," here goes.  Continue reading...
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