4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 547 Articles

When coming up with adjectives for made-up things, we have many to choose among: fictional, fictitious, or fictive, or even factitious. Choose wisely, or risk saying something you don't mean.  Continue reading...
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else.  Continue reading...
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Recently Lynne Truss, professional pedant, declared in her Telegraph column that English is "doomed."

Her proof? Someone wrote "It maybe time to act on this" in an email to her.  Continue reading...
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I hate inappropriate and uncertain events. Don't you? So does the American College of Cardiology. An article about that group reveals a lame-o lexical band-aid: "The cardiology group replaced the 'Inappropriate' label with 'Rarely Appropriate.' Another category—cases in which there's medical doubt—will switch from 'Uncertain' to 'May be Appropriate.'"  Continue reading...
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In a comical scene in the film The Princess Bride, the character Inigo Montoya has finally had enough of hearing the bad guy Vizzini say "Inconceivable!" when things are not only conceivable, but just keep happening. Montoya is finally moved to say, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."  Continue reading...
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Many people complain about the use of elecrocute to mean "to shock non-lethally." But as with most usage complaints, it's not that simple. The argument is that electrocute only means "to kill with electricity," not "to shock with electricity." The purists have etymology on their side — but only to a degree.  Continue reading...
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English language users have long struggled with lie, meaning "to recline," and lay, meaning "to put down." Many of the traditional English Christmas carols we hear at this time of year were written or translated during the 19th century and use lie and lay distinctly.  Continue reading...
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4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 547 Articles