1 2 3 4 Displaying 22-28 of 28 Articles

Last month, The AP Stylebook, the style guide for many American newspapers, finally gave up on restricting hopefully to its original meaning, "in a hopeful manner." The stylebook now also allows hopefully to be as a sentence adverb meaning "it is hoped" or "it is to be hoped that."  Continue reading...
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A well-meaning friend has done it once again: this time, I'm tagged on Facebook on a photo that pokes fun at "Grammar Nazis." In the past, I've been the recipient of grammar manuals and gotten emails from strangers encouraging me to join a grammarians' mailing list. It's all very kind, of course, but the truth must out: I am not a grammarian. Nor a Grammar Nazi. I wouldn't even say I'm a Grammar Fiend.  Continue reading...
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This weekend I had the opportunity to ruminate about the self-consciously self-referential word meta for NPR's "All Things Considered" and for my language column in the Sunday Boston Globe. That's an awful lot of meta-commentary, but I've still got some more thoughts on meta, or make that meta-thoughts on meta.  Continue reading...
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Last week, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum held an online panel discussion entitled "The Name Game," in conjunction with their exhibition of sculptures by John Chamberlain, who gave his works highly unusual titles. The panel was asked, what makes a "good" name from the perspective of art, marketing, or linguistics? What functions does a name or title fulfill? Visual Thesaurus executive producer Ben Zimmer took part.  Continue reading...
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The Internet offers writers unlimited space and so, for many, their writing expands expansively. Readers, however, have limited attention spans. So here are a few circumlocutions, or wordy phrases, that seem particularly ascendant. Occasional use of them may be needed for clarity, but most of the time, it's just inattentive or bloated writing.  Continue reading...
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I'm no peevologist. I will gladly begin a sentence with a conjunction and end it with a preposition. I love the word moist, and I couldn't care less about irregardless. I write about euphemisms because I love them, not because I want to see them wiped from the face of the Earth.  Continue reading...
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A recent article in Wired by Anne Trubek argues that the advent of the fully digital age will — and should — have as great an influence on English spelling as the age of print did, more than half a millennium ago. The author, a professor at Oberlin College, argues that our current obsession with correct spelling is out of keeping with the digital age: "Consistent spelling was a great way to ensure clarity in the print era. But with new technologies, the way that we write and read (and search and data-mine) is changing, and so must spelling." Must it?  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 22-28 of 28 Articles