The critically lauded film The Imitation Game
just won an Oscar for Graham Moore's screenplay, adapted from Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges. Crosswords play an important role in the story of the World War II codebreakers, but it turns out they also mastered the art of the palindrome. Palindromist Magazine editor Mark Saltveit reveals a long-hidden chapter of wordplay history.
In January, I took part in an interesting discussion on Twitter. Washington Post
copyeditor Bill Walsh posted a headline: "Hole-in-the-walls: East, west, and downtown, 19 named." He asked, "Would you take your sister-in-laws to such a place?"
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.
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 un
clear and thus impossible to interpret.
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.
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 seafaring stories reference the briny deep
as a euphemism for the salty sea. So what could a dry-
brine possibly be?
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