Here is the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. This time she answers the question, is it copy editor or copyeditor?  Continue reading...
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It was another dramatic finish at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. After the 46 semifinalists were whittled down to the dozen contestants for last night's finals, I tweeted, "12 kids enter, 1 kid leaves." Little did I know that two kids would be named co-champions in the Bee's first tie since 1962.  Continue reading...
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It's time once again for the Scripps National Spelling Bee! Two hundred and eighty-one young spellers gathered near Washington, D.C. and sweated through the preliminary rounds yesterday. For the second year, those rounds included not just questions about the spelling of words but also their definitions. After all was said and done, 46 survived to advance to Thursday's semifinals.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

The 2014 Spelling Bee Is Here!

It's time once again for the Scripps National Spelling Bee! The preliminaries are today, and the nationally televised semifinals and finals are tomorrow (May 29). As in past years, our own Ben Zimmer will be live-tweeting the competition from the @VocabularyCom Twitter account and reporting on the results here in his Word Routes column. In the meantime, catch up on our coverage of the format changes introduced last year that brought vocabulary questions into the mix: here and here.
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We have occasionally invoked Tom Lehrer when discussing how the simple letter "e" can change the meaning of many words, citing his song "Silent 'E.'" That "e" can also magically change a word into another form, such as a noun into a verb. This being illogical English, there are few "rules" as to what it does, though.  Continue reading...
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Last night, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses held its annual Spelling Bee in New York, supporting the work of independent literary publishers, and once again the Visual Thesaurus was proud to play a part. For the sixth consecutive year, the VT supplied the words that challenged the literary contestants. This year, the British novelist Patrick McGrath emerged victorious.  Continue reading...
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These days, one often sees mentions of "vocal chords" and "digestive tracks." These spellings are both logical, both frequently seen, and both incorrectly spelled (for now).  Continue reading...
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