Year: 2007

October 7, 2007

One Fewer Usage Error

In my mind, less and fewer illustrates quite well virtually all of the problems of prescriptivism: the codification of the opinion of some eighteenth-century writer, the disregard for well over a millennium of usage, the insistence on the utility in a superfluous distinction, and the oversimplification of the original rule leading to hypercorrection. I found […]

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Usage, Words 4 Replies to “One Fewer Usage Error”
October 1, 2007

The Passive Voice Is Corrected by Buzzword

I was just reading this article about Adobe’s new online word processor, and something caught my eye. In the screenshot, there’s a sentence that’s highlighted, and a bubble in the margin says, “Passive wording fixed.” First of all, it makes me groan to think that so many people still think that the passive voice is […]

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Grammar, Usage 3 Replies to “The Passive Voice Is Corrected by Buzzword”
August 5, 2007

Grammar quiz

From time to time, websites such as MSN and Yahoo challenge their readers to quizzes on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. These quizzes are often written more to stump than to educate, so the questions are worded in confusing ways, and the answers are masked in vagueness to the point where even those who know the […]

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Editing, Grammar, Usage, Words 7 Replies to “Grammar quiz”
May 7, 2007

Eggcorns

The other day, while researching baseball facts for a project at work, I discovered two eggcorns—my very first—that are apparently undocumented. They’re not to be found in the Eggcorn Database. One of them was a very common type of error (“in” for “and”): “the life in times” instead of “the life and times.” The eggcorn […]

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Usage, Words 7 Replies to “Eggcorns”
April 6, 2007

Scriptivists

The dispute between prescriptivism and descriptivism has sometimes been described as “a war that never ends.” Indeed, it often seems that the two sides are locked in an eternal struggle at polar opposites of the debate, neither willing to yield an inch. The prescriptivists are striving to uphold time-honored standards and defend the language from […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 4 Replies to “Scriptivists”
March 5, 2007

A New Look, a New Name

Well, I’ve finally taken the plunge and spun off the English blog from the rest of my site. Hopefully this will give me more motivation to write new posts here. Maybe I’ll get really crazy and add some other stuff, too, like the FAQ and style guide that I’ve always dreamed about. But for now […]

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Uncategorized 0 Replies to “A New Look, a New Name”
February 12, 2007

In the Order It Was Received

I was on hold just now, listening to the prerecorded voice tell me every thirty seconds that my call would be answered in the order it was received, and I wondered what the heck was going on in the grammar of that sentence. In colloquial English, there would be an “in” at the end, and […]

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Grammar, Usage 8 Replies to “In the Order It Was Received”
January 2, 2007

Editing Chicago

Those who have worked with me before may remember that I was once nicknamed “The Index to The Chicago Manual of Style” (or just “The Index” for short) because I always knew where to find everything that anyone needed to look up. I’ve always been a fan of the big orange book. It is so […]

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Editing, Grammar, Rants 7 Replies to “Editing Chicago”
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