1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 31 Articles

Admit it — you're afraid of semicolons.

Lots of folks, even professional writers, will cop to this phobia. No fear? Prove it (or engage in a little immersion therapy) by reviewing the following pairs of independent clauses and identifying the ones that would be better served by a semicolon than the period you see there now.  Continue reading...
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University of Missouri writing teacher Scott Garson takes a look back at a classic essay by George Orwell to see what lessons it still has for students today.

Have you reread Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" recently? The awesomeness of that essay is undiminished. The relevance to college writers? Up for debate.  Continue reading...
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Laura C. of Wantage, N.J. writes in with today's Mailbag Friday question:

Co-workers keep using the word caveat around work and it's driving me crazy. People will say, "This is a great plan, but the caveat is..." (meaning 'the hook or catch is...'). Sometimes they'll use it as a transitive verb: "Let's caveat that proposed media spend." Is this really acceptable?

 Continue reading...
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Earlier this week we spoke to Stephen Dodson, co-author of Uglier than a Monkey's Armpit, a compendium of curses and insults from around the world. By way of introduction to this lively and engaging book, here is a (lightly expurgated!) letter to readers from Stephen, musing on the boundless creativity of the "gems of abuse" he has collected.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

"Fail" Ever Upwards

Last Sunday, Visual Thesaurus executive producer Ben Zimmer filled in for William Safire's "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine, writing all about the word fail in its current use as a noun and interjection. Hear Ben talk more about the success of fail in an interview on the NPR show Future Tense.
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It was the woman's voice. Mellifluous. It made a small thrill run down my spine. She sounded like a college professor, accustomed to speaking to a roomful of students, or perhaps a good doctor, well educated and compassionate, or maybe even a newsreader, clear, calm and unflustered.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Stephen Fry: So Wrong It's Right

British comedian and public intellectual Stephen Fry has kicked off a new series of his BBC Radio 4 program on the English language, "Fry's English Delight." In "So Wrong It's Right," Fry "examines how 'wrong' English can become right English." Intrigued? You can hear the whole thing online, at least for the next week.
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 31 Articles