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Blog Excerpts

Words of 1911

On his site Wordorigins.org, David Wilton has started a series of posts on "words first used in English for a particular year," according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In his first post, he begins with the year 1911. Did you know that air force, floozy, lettergram, mozzarella, and taxi were all first documented a century ago? Read Wilton's post here.
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Bob Dylan turns 70 today, and among the hosannas from his fellow musicians is this one from Emmylou Harris: "He changed the way we think about the English language." Surely Dylan has vastly expanded the lyrical possibilities for songwriters who have followed in his wake, but his use of language has also left some more subtle fingerprints on the lexicon.  Continue reading...
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I'm an avid reader, and when I was little, I'd ride my bike down to the library bookmobile at the start of June and sign up for the summer reading program. Each week I'd read book after book, make the pilgrimage and watch my goal chart fill up with stars.  Continue reading...
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Yesterday, President Obama gave his much-anticipated "Arab spring" speech, setting out his foreign policy objectives in the Middle East in the wake of the revolutionary wave that has shook countries from Tunisia to Bahrain. But how did we come to call this moment in history the "Arab spring," considering that the Tunisian protests that got the ball rolling started way back in December?  Continue reading...
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I would love to say that the idea for Pub Speak: A Writer's Dictionary of Publishing Terms came to me as I was browsing dictionaries in a library in Rome, or speaking about book publishing with my favorite author in a French cafĂ©. But actually, the idea came to me while I sat on a hard plastic chair and flipped through a magazine in the waiting room of a car shop.  Continue reading...
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Terms from mathematics have a habit of working their way into common usage, especially among business types. Mike Pope, a technical writer and editor at Microsoft, takes a look at what happens when math terms with precise meanings turn fuzzy in extended use. The deltas (changes) can be significant.  Continue reading...
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On May 17th, 1954, the Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. This case -- probably the most famous and influential in the field of public education -- ended the practice of racial segregation in America's public schools. This week's worksheet asks students to analyze a series of quotations taken from Chief Justice Earl Warren's majority opinion with the help of the Visual Thesaurus.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 30 Articles