1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 22-28 of 31 Articles

What is the most beautiful word in the English language? This question was recently posed on GalleyCat, the Mediabistro blog covering the publishing industry. GalleyCat has its own suggestions, and recommends that readers use the Visual Thesaurus to map out their own favorite words.  Continue reading...
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Long before last week's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, viewers of Nancy Grace's Headline News program had gotten used to her referring to Anthony, accused of murdering her daughter Cayley, as the tot mom. People hearing tot mom for the first time sometimes ask if it's connected to another parenting-related compound word that has gained prominence in recent years: baby mama.  Continue reading...
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Ever ask a group of students the difference between a regular word and a vocabulary word? They would probably respond by telling you that vocabulary words are words that they are supposed to learn in school, unfamiliar words that they encounter in newspapers and novels, or words that show up in workbooks with titles like "100 Vocabulary Words You Need to Know by Graduation."  Continue reading...
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Words have meaning, right? Sure they do, we all know that! We certainly use words, spoken or written, at all hours of the day and night to convey what we mean to other people. We know the meanings of many words, and if we don't know what a word means -- heterolysis, for instance -- we can look up its meaning in the dictionary: "the destruction of cells of one species by enzymes derived from cells of a different species."  Continue reading...
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Does anything signal "uneducated" more than the use of "alot?" My father, an attorney, has done more than a few criminal appeals. I've seen some of the letters he receives from his prisoner clients — they pretty much all include "alot."  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Worn-Out Words

At England's Ledbury Poetry Festival, poets were asked to single out "the expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning." Their responses range from "think outside the box" to "I am a very spiritual person." Read the cliches they selected, with commentary, at The Guardian here.
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In William Goldman's terrific 1989 book, Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting, he uses the term nonrecurring phenomenon for films whose success mystifies Hollywood executives and their magic 8-balls.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 22-28 of 31 Articles