Category Archives: Language

What makes someone an authority on the English language?

A vocabulary slip on my part in a recent post led to an email conversation with long-time reader Steve G., which eventually meandered over to this question. I’ve done a fair amount of thinking on the idea, and can offer … Continue reading

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Blacklist vs Blackball

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.” – Groucho Marx Blacklist or blackball? Which term is correct in which context and why? I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of … Continue reading

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Vocabulary: What is a bollard?

A quick post today from the vocabulary files. This one’s about something that most of us see many times every day, but don’t know the word for. In fact, most of us don’t know there’s even a word for it. … Continue reading

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i.e. and e.g.: You’re not writing in Latin, so why are you using them?

i.e. and e.g.: What are they? Why do we use them? What do they mean? And why don’t we just get rid of them?

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Has “Jumped the Shark” Jumped the Shark?

A specific (mis-)use of language smacked me upside the head (…figuratively…) recently and it deserves coverage here. Do you know the phrase “jumped the shark?” Many of us do. But someone apparently doesn’t, because he used it to mean something … Continue reading

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