Last month, a post at the Poynter Institute took a strong stand: "It's time for copy editors to loosen the cardigan when it comes to 'media,'" Andrew Beaujon wrote. He said he felt "like a tool writing 'The media are.'" Continue reading...
Today is opening day for Major League Baseball, though the only game on the schedule is in far-off Tokyo, where the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are beginning a two-game series. But let's cast our minds back to opening day a century ago. On April 2, 1912, in a Pacific Coast League game between the Portland Beavers and the Los Angeles Angels, a pitcher uncorked his "jazz ball" — and possibly helped set into motion a chain of events that brought the word jazz together with the music it named. Continue reading...

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Words You Need to See in the Wild

Words You Need to See in the Wild

Is fritter a delicious fried pastry? Or what you did when you spent your inheritance on Botox and truffles? If contemporary means “belonging to the present time,” how come you can’t use it interchangeably with current, as in “Change the channel––the contemporary show is boring as all get out”?

Learn fritter, contemporary, and nine other context-sensitive words in a new list in the Test Prep category, Words You Need to See in the Wild.

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Ten Words from Today's NY Times

Ten Words from Today's NY Times

Take on Ten Words from Today's NY Times - Mar. 27, 2012.

Then see Vocabulary Begets Vocabulary: The More You Know, the More You Learn to understand why learning these words will help you absorb even more as you read.

When making a list, it can be tempting to pile on the words, as if the dictionary is a buffet table and you’re allowed only one pass. But this may not be the best approach. Continue reading...
Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, has been musing on a dilemma involving clichés. Though they are often disparaged by writers of English, clichés are nonetheless "part of the bread and butter of speech, and thus we would be doing a disserve to our students if we didn't encourage their fluency with a significant number." Continue reading...

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A Simile Can Be a Dangerous Thing

A Simile Can Be a Dangerous Thing

When, in a CNN interview, Mitt Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom was asked about the possibility of Romney's recent conservative positions alienating independent voters in a general election, and Fehrnstrom said, "It’s almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again," he was using a very powerful (and dangerous) tool: a simile.

See the Vocabulary.com Dictionary page for simile to review what a simile is, where it comes from, and what distinguishes one from a metaphor.

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