Blog Excerpts

To celebrate National Grammar Day today ("March Fourth/Forth"), the American Copy Editing Society's announced winning entries in a grammar haiku contest. Check them out and survey all the entries here. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Grammar
Grammar lovers, it's your time to shine! Write a haiku for National Grammar Day, March 4th ("march forth") and tweet it to #grammarday. Or just enjoy these winning haiku from last year. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Grammar
In a continuing series of SAT study tips provided by Veritas Prep, BloombergBusiness advised students last month to "approach the SAT as if it were an athletic event." The recommended training regimen involves healthful eating, exercise, anxiety avoidance, and most importantly, consistent review. Continue reading...
The public radio show "On the Media" notes that "in the age of Snowden and Manning, the term 'whistleblower' is increasingly present in our media. But where exactly did the word come from?" Brooke Gladstone talked to our executive editor Ben Zimmer for some historical background. Continue reading...
The story of Steve Henderson — a software engineer bent on single-handedly fixing every use of the word comprise in Wikipedia entries where compose would be more appropriate — has captured the popular imagination. Yesterday, Southern California Public Radio invited our own Ben Zimmer to explain the difference and weigh in on the wisdom of Henderson's quest. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Usage
Last night, Jon Stewart announced that he will be retiring from Comedy Central's The Daily Show. We'll miss Stewart and his writing team for lots of reasons. But as dedicated vocabularians, we'll be especially sorry to see the end of Stewart's skewering of overhyped news through clever use of word blending, known as portmanteaus. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Media, Vocabulary, Words

A Junior Dictionary Kerfuffle

"The lexicographic kerfuffle, thank goodness, isn't dead," writes Stefan Fatsis in The New Yorker. Fatsis is referring to the recent controversy over the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which has substituted all-natural words like "almond," "blackberry," and "minnow," with such 21st-century fare as "blog," "chatroom," and "database." Some noted writers have said they are "profoundly alarmed" by the changes. Read all about it here.
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