8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 560 Articles

For two weeks we highlighted phrases that are written from what people hear, sometimes with amusing results. A reader asked: "Aren't all those [examples] mondegreens, like 'very close veins' when 'varicose veins' is meant?" Yes and know.  Continue reading...
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Recently a reader of the Copyediting newsletter (which I edit) asked me about the phrase take a decision. Shouldn't it be make a decision? In researching the answer, I learned that make and take were examples of "light verbs." It's a concept that few besides linguists are concerned with, if my research is accurate, but one that if writers were more aware of could have a profound effect on their writing.  Continue reading...
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Last week, we talked about some idioms that have been twisted by people who write them as they hear them, not as the phrase should read. Here are some more. Some of these twisted phrases make some sense, because they use words that seem to fit in the phrase, until you really dig into them.  Continue reading...
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Lately I've been noticing the phrase as such everywhere. It's not just a recency illusion; according to corpus data, it really is on the rise. And with that rise comes a shift in function and a corresponding effort to halt that shift.  Continue reading...
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Here's a shocker: People don't talk the way they write, or the way they should write. They have accents; they slur words or runthemtogether. They leave off the "g" at the end of lots of words, and they mispronounce some, forgetting an "r" in "libary" or "Febuary."  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Know Your Shutdown Buzzwords

"Furlough." "Brinkmanship." "Shutdown." "Slimdown." The political stalemate on Capitol Hill about the federal budget and the Affordable Care Act has generated its own lexicon. Katy Steinmetz has compiled a helpful guide to shutdown buzzwords for TIME's Swampland blog — check it out here.
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Just as a biologist can tell a critter from a creepy-crawly by the number of legs, euphemism enthusiasts can tell a 5-alarm, major-league, restaurant-quality euphemism by the presence of three words. Readers of previous columns may remember terms such as employee dialogue session, strategic dynamism effort, enhanced pension offer, life problem issue, taco meat filling, and customer pain point. Every time, three words = three metric tons of malarkey.  Continue reading...
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8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 560 Articles