Topic:Usage

Blog Excerpts

"Staycation," "Bleisure," and Other Made-Up Travel Words

Is the travel industry particularly susceptible to making up words like "bleisure" (combining "business" and "leisure") and "staycation" (for a stay-at-home vacation)? Associated Press travel reporter Beth J. Harpaz investigates — with help from our own Ben Zimmer, who says that such neologisms "come in handy in a business sector where there's often a need to come up with clever marketing spin." Read the AP article here.
TOPICS: Marketing, Usage, Words
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From the annual meeting of the American Copy Editors Society in Las Vegas comes some earth-shaking news: the folks who edit the Associated Press Stylebook have loosened the distinction between "over" and "more than." The stylebook editors announced that they are now fine with "over" being used with numbers. Many of those in attendance were aghast, while others hailed the change as long overdue. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Media, Usage
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Decimate. Literally. Hopefully. These words, and others like them, provoke so much ire in some readers that they become troublesome to use. Critics feel that the writer is using the word in an unauthorized way, that it's being using to mean what it does not mean. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Vocabulary, Words
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A "bear market" is one where stock prices fall, and a "bull market" is one where prices rise. But why do financial folks talk about "bears" and "bulls"? The public radio show Marketplace looked into various origin stories and called on our own Ben Zimmer to explain the history. Continue reading...
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Today is the federal observation of George Washington's birthday, also called Presidents' Day. Five years ago, an unfortunate typo was discovered in a quotation from Washington chiseled on the front of the New York State Supreme Courthouse. That typo still lingers today. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Politics, Usage, Writing
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Online dating sites love to use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to talk about how people size up their potential romantic interests. And it turns out that an attention to grammar, particularly usage of the word "whom," just might help out men who would like to attract members of the opposite sex. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Grammar, Usage
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Language writer Jen Doll takes on the phenomenon of linguistic "peeving" for the Atlantic and collects a list of "classics." See any you recognize? Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Language, Usage
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