Word Count Writers Talk About Writing

Language allows us to communicate the ideas in our heads with other people. It is a main way we connect with the world around us. Because of that, language becomes very personal to each user. We form affinities for individual words because of what they mean to us. Continue reading...
On the surface, and/or seems like a helpful but mostly harmless little phrase — a little ugly, perhaps, but still useful for those times when you want to be extra clear about what all the options are. Most people associate the phrase with legal writing, but it turns out that a surprising number of lawyers and judges hate it, claiming that it's actually unclear and thus impossible to interpret. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Words, Writing

Unexpected Opposites

I occasionally teach a class about using Microsoft Word. In one of the class exercises, students are asked to format a page, and the instructions tell them to "outdent" a heading. After I got several questions about that each class, I realized that lots of people have no idea what the term means. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Usage, Words
Last year for Thanksgiving, I did something gastronomically delicious but linguistically impossible: I dry-brined my turkey. The very word brine implies water. Tons of sea-faring stories reference the briny deep as a euphemism for the salty sea. So what could a dry-brine possibly be? Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Language, Words
Welcome to the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. In this tip, Mignon advises on the usage of toward vs. towards. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Usage, Words
Verizon offers "Even faster FiOS Quantum Internet" speeds. Duracell has a new Quantum alkaline battery. James Bond had his Quantum of Solace. Any number of companies have "quantum" in their names as well. The implication is that "quantum" is something big and powerful, with a hint of science behind it. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Vocabulary, Words
Here's the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. Mignon points out a common confusion that might leave you star-crossed. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Vocabulary, Words
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