Tag Archives: usage

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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Disperse vs. Disburse

As an editor, you’re exposed to all kinds of weird language use: convoluted sentence structures, idiosyncratic punctuation, unique and unorthodox uses of the formatting features in a word processor. You name it, it’s there. One oddity you’ll always encounter is … Continue reading

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Another so-called (or is it so called?) blog post

The phrase “so-called” has been tossed around a lot in recent months, and it’s one that deserves attention and explanation. People use it all the time, but it’s still subject to misinterpretation, both in what people mean (or think they … Continue reading

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Banned for 2016?

It’s not fresh news, but I still want to mention this year’s “Banished Words” as compiled by the good people at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. They’ve been at this (admittedly silly) exercise since before most … Continue reading

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