Tag Archives: usage

What does “anodyne” mean? It’s really not very exciting.

Bland. Dull. Boring. Insipid. Those are some of the synonyms listed in one dictionary for “anodyne.” Are you familiar with that word: anodyne? It’s certainly been getting a lot more use lately. Why is that? The word has been around … Continue reading

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Thou Shalt Not Use “Shall”

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that a large chunk of my work in recent years has been for law firms. When you work in that domain you have a lot of exposure to “legalese,” both in the common derogatory … 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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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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