Reporting on his investigation of Hillary Clinton's email use, F.B.I. Director James B. Comey mentioned several times that the F.B.I. engaged in up-classifying emails. Continue reading...
Gathering in Washington D.C. for its annual meeting, the American Dialect Society has made its 26th annual selection for Word of the Year. And as predicted in this space last month, the winner is a lowly pronoun: they used as a gender-neutral alternative to he and she, with special attention paid to its use as an expression of "non-binary" gender identity. Continue reading...
Following the enormously successful release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Slate's words correspondent Katy Waldman raised a question, "Why are they called the Avengers? What are they avenging?" This put us in mind of lexicographer Neal Whitman's observation a few years back that, at least in movies, "Avenging and vengeance are for good guys, while revenge is for the bad guys." Continue reading...
Karen Joy Fowler's PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (now shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well) is narrated by a character with an outsize vocabulary. Here, Fowler speaks with Vocabulary.com about the process of finding the words to create that character and the fun of breaking the rule, "Never use a 100-dollar word when a one-dollar word will do." Continue reading...
As Black History Month comes to a close, we are proud to feature a fantastic new reference book: Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. states in the foreword, it is an "impressively researched and documented collection of the finest thought produced by writers throughout the African diaspora." Here we present an excerpt from the preface by the book's editor, Retha Powers. Continue reading...

Blog Excerpts

NaNoWriMo Has Begun!

It's time once again for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As the website explains, it's "for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." Visit the NaNoWriMo website to learn more.
Topics: Writers Writing
Writing for The Boston Globe, NYU doctoral candidate Rachael Scarborough King reported on recent studies that cast doubt on the commonly held assumption that William Shakespeare invented many of the words we use today. Continue reading...
Topics: Words Writers
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