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What would graduation season be without complaints about the misuse of the verb graduate? Usage guides these days warn against using graduate as a transitive verb, as in "She graduated college," or "He never graduated high school." The standard phrasing uses the preposition from: "She graduated from college"; "He never graduated from high school."  Continue reading...
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Teachers at Work contributor Shannon Reed had a "bad class" this year at the Brooklyn public school where she teaches English and theater. Shannon describes how she found a way to engage with the students through "spoken word" poetry.  Continue reading...
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For the May VT crossword puzzle, we've got another a vocabulary-related riddle for you. Decipher it and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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A few weeks ago, we reported on a mini-controversy stemming from the raid of Osama bin Laden, where the code name "Geronimo" was used. That drew the ire of some Native American groups who saw an unfortunate equivalence being drawn to a legendary warrior. Now we have a new code name controversy: for President Obama's visit to the United Kingdom, Scotland Yard has used the code name "Chalaque," which some newspapers have explained as a Punjabi word meaning "smart alec."  Continue reading...
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When English scholar E.D. Hirsch, Jr. was called upon to try to figure out why the communication skills of contemporary Americans were deteriorating, he answered that call by bemoaning this generation's lack of "cultural literacy" — a cultural knowledge base that previous generations of well-educated folks supposedly shared.  Continue reading...
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If, as Polonius proclaimed in Hamlet, "brevity is the soul of wit," then Shakespeare surely mastered the art of coming up with witty and brief expressions that have managed to stick around for centuries. This week's worksheet features sixteen Shakespearean phrases that students can explore using the Visual Thesaurus.  Continue reading...
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Last week we heard from Mike Pope, a technical writer and editor at Microsoft, about how mathematical terms evolve in common usage. Now Mike introduces us to some unusual jargon in the computer programming community.  Continue reading...
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