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In the thick of homecoming season and with a son in high school, I've been hearing more these days about who likes who, who's dating who, and who's unwillingly unattached at the moment. It turns out there have been some changes in the vocabulary for that situation since my high-school and college days.  Continue reading...
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I twerking love euphemisms.

Let me explain.

As you're probably aware, the primary meaning of twerk is a bizarre form of dancing that looks more like a medical condition than anything attractive.  Continue reading...
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Mansplaining — a fella explaining something, unnecessarily and often incorrectly, with oodles of condescension — is as old as the hills. The word itself has been around since about 2009, but it's blossomed since, providing a potent weapon in women's arsenal against overbearing dudes.  Continue reading...
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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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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 528 Articles