Category Archives: Things you should know

WOTY 2017 (Part 2): “Fake News” All Over Again.

On January 5th, the American Dialect Society announced the results of its voting for Word of the Year (WOTY). They went with fake news which, if you’ve read my previous post, was a choice you might not think I’d approve of. … Continue reading

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WOTY 2017 (Part 1): We’re all complicit.

Ah, December. When a young man’s thoughts turn to college bowl games. And when those of us who spend a disproportionate amount of our time in the trenches observing and analyzing this thing we call the English language wonder, “what’s … Continue reading

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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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