Word Count Writers Talk About 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
Ripped. Slapped. Poked. Swatted. If you've been watching the World Series, you've probably heard some of these verbs for hitting a baseball. Sports can involve a lot of repetition, so to make it different and exciting, sportscasters often use a wide variety of terms to describe the action. It is this variety that makes sports lingo an interesting object of study. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Language, Words
Anyone who works for a large organization (or maybe even a small one) knows that certain phrases grab people's imagination and spread through the organization. If you're like me, you go to meetings and presentations and expressions keep popping up, which is very distracting — you try to listen to what the speaker is saying, but you end up paying more attention to how they're saying it. Continue reading...
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