Latin may be a dead language, but there are still a few abbreviations you should know how to use properly. While they may seem like they can be used interchangeably, that’s not quite the case. Let’s see if we can figure them out once and for all.
This week we’re catching up some loose ends, including homophones I forgot about a couple weeks ago, phrases that sound OK when you say them out loud but look (and are) horrendously wrong written down the way they sound, and other random but common grammar mistakes.
There are some grammar mistakes that annoy the crap out of me, but others? I don’t give a fuck. In most of the following cases, so many people use the “wrong” word that it seems really nitpicky to get on anyone’s case about it. Others may be important to get right in academic writing, but not […]
Oh, idioms. I can’t imagine how people ever manage to pick these up if they aren’t native speakers, considering how often those of us who have spoken English all our lives get these mixed up. Hopefully putting them in terms of unicorns will help us all finally get these phrases right.
One of the most annoying things about the English language is its abundance of words that sound exactly alike but have different spellings and meanings. Other words have similar meanings an even sound slightly different, but are spelled differently for different parts of speech. Some of them are easy enough that most of us will never […]
Grammar may not be particularly fun for everyone, but everything’s better with unicorns! Let’s let our magical friends walk us through some of the trickier words that many of us still mess up no matter how many times we go over the rules.
Nothing tops last week’s otter, but we found fun links this week anyway.
Hello, hallo, bonjour, buongiorno, epa, hola, and cześć!
[Original publication date: Oct. 21, 2011] First things first. Yes, I know “female” is also a noun. It’s not necessary to bust out the Merriam-Webster to prove me wrong. I have a few editions of my own. But all technicalities aside, language is a living, ever-changing entity, and how we choose to use words is […]
My students always struggle with apostrophe use. Indeed, it’s probably the number one writing — error? problem? nonstandard usage? — I see in my students’ writing. My guess is that apostrophe usage is on the way out. I suspect a hundred years from now, English writers will not use apostrophes. And that’s okay. I’m not […]
While I teach writing for a living, I’m not the doom-and-gloom “Texting is ruining English!” type. Language changes. It’s pretty neat to be witnessing such profound changes. But I do love apostrophes, and I am sad that they seem to be on the way out.
Oh, pileofmonkeys, how you make me laugh with your cranky grammar rants, and how lovely it is to talk about feminism in such a nitty-gritty real way. — Sally Lawton
Welcome to the Funtime Open Thread! It’s our first new OT in four whole days! Exclamation points are cool!
I’m about to write a post that will probably make my copyeditor cringe. After all, she is a copyeditor, and it’s her job to be picky about words. As readers and writers, I’m sure many of you reading this piece will do a little cringing yourselves.
Oh, the tough life of a copyeditor. So misunderstood. “A copyeditor, huh? You must, like, go around correcting people’s grammar all the time, right?” Actually, I don’t, because it would be obnoxious and rude.