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Category: language

The word nerd rides again

Several times recently I’ve heard someone misuse the phrase “begs the question.” I’ve long known it does not mean to raise or pose a question that needs to be answered. But offhand I could […]

Here it is: Banished word list for 2015

Every year Lake Superior State University, after accepting nominations all year, publishes its official list of banished words for the upcoming year. The banished words for 2015, with some of […]

Campaign insults from red to blue

As a helpless victim in a purple swing state during the 2014 political campaign, I suffered through a months-long waterboarding with the most vile, ugly, vicious political ads I can […]

Throwing shade

It’s akin to the earth shifting beneath my feet, this constant change in the English language. It’s as though I built my editorial house on sand. Of course language evolves. […]

When smart quotes aren’t

It’s a term that begs to be used: apostrophe catastrophe. And it has become so cliché that I won’t use it here. There are already dozens of articles and at least […]

Coke commercial causes controversy

Coca Cola’s Super Bowl ad has caused quite an uproar on Twitter and Facebook. It seems a lot of people think the song “America the Beautiful” should be sung in […]

Words, suffixes officially banished for 2014

It’s here! The Lake Superior State University 2014 List of Banished Words. Selfie was recognized as the winning word, receiving the most nominations during the year. After that, the order of […]

Freaking out over ‘giffing out’

Massive amounts of Christmas advertising have always annoyed me. I’ve been a grinch for decades and freely admit it, and being assaulted by so much Christmas “joy” every time I […]

What your dialect says about you

The New York Times today features a test that will show what your dialect says about where you’re from. Or perhaps where you’ve previously lived. Both the questions and the associated […]

Enough about Phil Robertson

I‘m still scratching my head over the ongoing Phil Robertson uproar. The star of TV’s “Duck Dynasty” made some blunt, tasteless, ignorant remarks about gays several days ago. And the […]

Commas save lives

I have a huge problem during the Christmas shopping season. I tend to buy too much. Not for others, but for myself. Once the sales begin and the purse strings […]

Brinkmanship or brinksmanship?

I heard it on TV again this morning. Someone said “brinkmanship.” In the same conversation, I also heard “brinksmanship.” That’s been the case for a month or so whenever media […]

Oxford adds new words to online dictionary

I‘ll spare you some painfully contorted writing that incorporates the words just added to the Oxford Dictionaries. Besides, I’m too lazy. I’ll just list them and you can do whatever […]

‘Soda, pop, or coke’ and more

If you thought the “soda, pop, or coke” map was interesting, you owe it to yourself to check out “Beyond ‘Soda, Pop, or Coke,‘” a project by Joshua Katz at […]

Say it correctly: ‘mas-TEC-tomy’

Search terms in one’s blog stats can be amusing or thought provoking. Often unintentionally so. Take the person who was searching here for “masectomy mis-pronunciation.” Gotta wonder if he or she pronounces […]