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Articles from JULY 2012
Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
July 13, 2012By Ben Zimmer
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the first official performance of the Rolling Stones. When it comes to songwriting, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards usually don't receive as much adulation as their counterparts in the Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But Mick and Keith have churned out some wonderful turns of phrase over the past half century. Consider this, from the Stones' 1969 single, "Honky Tonk Women": "She blew my nose and then she blew my mind." Continue reading...
Writers Talk About Writing
July 12, 2012By Erin Brenner
I was recently taken to task for writing the following in a blog post:
Do you see the problem? Continue reading...
I used to loathe writing. I found it both daunting and painful — kind of like going to the dentist and having a root canal. Every day.I delayed and procrastinated, putting off the dreaded task as long as humanly possible. Only the force of an inexorable deadline impelled me to push out any words. And when I finally had them written down, little time remained for editing. Continue reading...
Michael Lydon has been swayed by the power of allusion. "I began by laughing at P. G. Wodehouse's addled literary quotations, and then I discovered how powerful and surprisingly subtle a writing resource allusion can be," he writes. "Though often overlooked, allusion lives omnipresent in the writing that surrounds us." Continue reading...
Writers Talk About Writing
July 9, 2012By Shannon Reed
July 4th marked the 167th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's decision to go into the woods because he "wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life," as he wrote in his classic memoir, Walden. In the midst of quiet contemplation of nature and language, Thoreau did something we hardly ever recollect: he developed a handful of new words. Continue reading...
Ten Differences Between US and UK English
July 9, 2012
If you're hoping to navigate a trans-Atlantic language crossing, you better know the sometimes subtle differences between American and British English. Lynn Murphy, an American expat teaching linguistics in Britain, explains some of the more challenging US/UK distinctions, involving such words as moot, quite, please, and pants. Read her whole list in the Emphasis Write Away e-bulletin here.
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
July 6, 2012By Neal Whitman
The newest Spider-Man movie is in the theaters, with a new director, new cast, and new take on Spider-Man's origin story that invites us to forget the one presented to us back in 2002. In other words, it's not a sequel, but a reboot. In August, the remake of Total Recall arrives... or is it a reimagining? What exactly is the difference between remakes, reboots, and reimaginings? Continue reading...