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Just for Fun

Better Grammar Through Unicorns, Part 6: Latin

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.

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Just for Fun

Better Language Through Unicorns, Part 5: Odds and Ends

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.

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Just for Fun

Better Language Through Unicorns, Part 4: IDGAF

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 […]

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Just for Fun

Better Language Through Unicorns, Part 3: It’s Idiom Time

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.

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Just for Fun

Better Language Through Unicorns, Part 2: Tricksy Homophones and Sneaky Spelling

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 […]

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Just for Fun

Better Language Through Unicorns, Part 1: The Basics

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. 

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Dispatches from Ladyblogland

Dispatches from Ladyblogland

Nothing tops last week’s otter, but we found fun links this week anyway.

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Perspectives

What I Learned While Trying to Learn a New Language

Hello, hallo, bonjour, buongiorno, epa, hola, and cześć!

Categories
Feminism

“Female” is an Adjective: You Got Your Grammar in My Feminism!

[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 […]

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History

A History of Possession

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 […]

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Uncategorized

Apostrophes are Awesome

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.

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Persephone Birthday

Best of P-Mag: “Female” is an Adjective: You Got Your Grammar in My Feminism!

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

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Open Thread

Funtime Open Thread: Words About Words

Welcome to the Funtime Open Thread!  It’s our first new OT in four whole days!  Exclamation points are cool!

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Writing

Three Little Words

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.

Categories
Writing

The Grammar Bitch is Only Human

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.