Category Archives: Writing

Tour de force? Coup de grace? Maybe coup de force or tour de grace?

A weird error crossed my desk the other day and it was interesting enough that I’m devoting this post to it. You’ve probably encountered both of these phrases: coup de grace and tour de force. A coup de grace (the … 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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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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Please try to understand: it’s “try to” not “try and”

I’ve often stressed that the observations and advice posted here are primarily about written English, as opposed to spoken English. For a number of reasons written English and spoken English can almost be thought of as two separate languages, or … Continue reading

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Posner’s Ruling: Jargon, you’re out of order!

If you’re a writer or editor or someone who follows the latest developments (such as they are) of the English language, you’ve probably spent time on various grammar and vocabulary and writing advice sites. You’ll know some of the popular … Continue reading

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