September 20, 2011


Topic Contest

I’m very pleased to announce the first-ever contest here at Arrant Pedantry, sponsored by the generous folks at Stack Exchange English Language and Usage. The first-prize winner will receive a new Kindle 3G.

A Word from Our Sponsor

Stack Exchange English Language and Usage is a collaborative, community-driven site focused on questions about grammar, etymology, usage, dialects, and other aspects of the English language. For example, you can ask about the pronunciation of the names of the letters of the alphabet, the appropriate use of the semicolon, or the factual basis for pirate speech (appropriate for yesterday’s Talk like a Pirate Day).

Stack Exchange English Language and Usage is a great resource for people looking for answers to those often obscure questions about language that we all have from time to time. Stack Exchange features an involved community of language experts, amateurs, and enthusiasts who are willing and able to tackle questions on a variety of topics. Please go check it out, and consider following StackEnglish on Twitter.

The Rules

And now on to business. To enter, submit a request for a future topic you’d like to see covered here on Arrant Pedantry. It can be a question about usage, etymology, how I can call myself an editor when I think a lot of the rules are bogus—whatever you want. (Keep it civil, of course). Post your request either in the comments below or on Twitter @ArrantPedantry. I’ll pick the two best suggestions and write a post on each of them. One lucky winner will receive the grand prize of a a new Kindle 3G; one slightly less lucky winner will receive a copy of Robert Lane Greene’s You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity (on which I’ll try to write a review sometime soon).

The deadline for entries is Friday, September 30th. Only contestants in the continental US, Canada, and Western Europe are eligible. Employees of StackExchange and relatives of me are not eligible. Spread the word!

And while you’re at it, check out the limerick contest at Sentence First, also sponsored by Stack Exchange English Language and Usage.

Addendum: My blog is currently getting bombarded by spammers, so if your comment doesn’t go through for some reason, please let me know through the contact page or by direct message on Twitter.

Update: The contest is now closed to submissions. I’ll go over all of them and announce the winners soon.

Best Grammar Blog of 2011

As you may have noticed, my blog has been preselected as a finalist for’s Best Grammar Blog of 2011 contest. I’m up against some excellent grammar and language blogs, so I’m honored to have been chosen. Voting for this contest starts on September 26th and runs through October 17th. If you enjoy my blog, please go and vote!

Uncategorized 28 Replies to “Contests!”
Jonathon Owen
Jonathon Owen


28 thoughts on “Contests!

    Author’s gravatar

    Here’s an idea, “What is the official way we create a word.” My son started using the word Ginormous. I informed him there was no such word. It was a combo of Gigantic and Enormous. However, we later heard several other kids using the word Ginormous, as well as adults. Now my spell checker says its OK. How do we, or how should we, go about creating new words.

    And we should call this procedure by a new word, like Wordcreationism.

    Author’s gravatar

    Examine American and British uses of quotation marks with other punctuation. Why do Americans insist on always placing commas and periods within the quotation marks? What is the justification for the rule, and is it justifiable?

    Is there such a thing as an inanimate or animate adjective? I hear people say things like “The woman that was in the car” instead of “who was in the car.” Is that wrong? On the flip side, consider “the couch, whose cushion is blue.” “Who” is usually used for animate subjects. Why don’t we have the word “whichs” for inanimate ones?

    Author’s gravatar

    How about a post on the history of the verbing of nouns, and objections to it. I first learned about the brouhaha over “contact” as a verb while reading Nero Wolfe mysteries. Wolfe thought it was an abomination. The noises about using “friend” as a verb today seem similar.

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