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In the leadup to President Obama's win over Mitt Romney, a number of political commentators described the presidential race as not just "tight" but "razor-tight." Ultimately, the razor-tight
description was apt in such battleground states as Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, but not so much in the overall electoral results. But wait a minute: why razor-tight
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The headlines were full of "disruption" last week, as Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast. "Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Millions of Lives" read the headline on a New York Times slide show. Sandy "continues to disrupt New York entertainment industry," CBS News warned a day after the storm passed through. Subway, train, and air travel was disrupted, as was phone and cable service, and there was even concern that power outages would disrupt voting in today's election.
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David Skinner's new book, The Story of Ain't
, is about the controversy that surrounded the 1961 publication of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, which was blasted for not coming down hard enough on nonstandard words like ain't
. Skinner looks at how far we've come in our view of slang and dictionaries in a piece for the Wall Street Journal, "Ain't This Good English?
" And read more about Webster's Third in Ben Zimmer's Word Routes
column last year celebrating the dictionary's 50th birthday.
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Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax
, has an entertaining new book out called Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing
. Verbs, she writes, are "vital, vibrant, voluptuous, and, yes, sometimes vexing." In this excerpt, Hale focuses on choosing the right verbs, and avoiding getting confused by "headache verbs."