Year: 2013

December 20, 2013

The Pronunciation of Smaug

With the recent release of the new Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, a lot of people have been talking about the pronunciation of the titular dragon’s name. The inclination for English speakers is to pronounce it like smog, but Tolkien made clear in his appendixes to The Lord of the Rings that the combination […]

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Historical linguistics, Phonology 20 Replies to “The Pronunciation of Smaug”
December 19, 2013

Now on Visual Thesaurus: “Electrocution: A Shocking Misuse?”

I have a new post up on Visual Thesaurus about the use, misuse, and history of the word electrocute. Some usage commentators today insist that it be used only to refer to death by electric shock; that is, you can’t say you’ve been electrocuted if you lived to tell the tale. But the history, unsurprisingly, […]

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Usage, Words 2 Replies to “Now on Visual Thesaurus: “Electrocution: A Shocking Misuse?””
December 12, 2013

Yes, Irregardless Is a Word

My last post, “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes about Grammar Mistakes Makes”, drew a lot of comments, some supportive and some critical. But no point drew as much ire as my claim that irregardless is a word. Some stated flatly, “Irregardless is not a word.” One ignorantly demanded, “Show me a dictionary that actually […]

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Sociolinguistics, Usage, Words 28 Replies to “Yes, Irregardless Is a Word”
November 19, 2013

15 Percent Off Shirts

Today through November 24th, you can get 15 percent off all orders at the Arrant Pedantry Store when you use the coupon code WITHLOVE at checkout. It’s a good chance to get the word nerd in your life (or yourself) a little something for Christmas.

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Uncategorized 0 Replies to “15 Percent Off Shirts”
November 18, 2013

12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes

There are a lot of bad grammar posts in the world. These days, anyone with a blog and a bunch of pet peeves can crank out a click-bait listicle of supposed grammar errors. There’s just one problem—these articles are often full of mistakes of one sort or another themselves. Once you’ve read a few, you […]

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Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage 162 Replies to “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes”
October 23, 2013

Book Review: Shady Characters

I recently received a review copy of Keith Houston’s new book, Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks, based on his excellent blog of the same name. The first delightful surprise I found inside is that, in a tribute to medieval manuscripts and early printed books, the book is rubricated—the […]

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Book Reviews 0 Replies to “Book Review: Shady Characters
September 10, 2013

Free Shipping Again

Once again I apologize for not posting anything new lately. I had a crazy summer of freelancing, job hunting, moving, and starting a new job, so I just haven’t had time to write recently. I hope to have something soon. But in the meanwhile, you can enjoy free shipping from the Arrant Pedantry Store when […]

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Uncategorized 0 Replies to “Free Shipping Again”
June 28, 2013

Solstices, Vegetables, and Official Definitions

Summer officially began just a few days ago—at least that’s what the calendar says. June 20 was the summer solstice, the day when the northern hemisphere is most inclined towards the sun and consequently receives the most daylight. By this definition, summer lasts until the autumnal equinox, in late September, when days and nights are […]

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Semantics 9 Replies to “Solstices, Vegetables, and Official Definitions”
June 13, 2013

New Posts Elsewhere

I have a couple of new posts up elsewhere: a brief one at Copyediting discussing those dialect maps that are making the rounds and asking whether Americans really talk that differently from each other, and a longer one at Visual Thesaurus (subscription required) discussing the role of copy editors in driving restrictive relative which out […]

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June 12, 2013

Accepting and Rejecting Changes in Microsoft Word

As many of you probably know, editors usually use Microsoft Word’s Tracking Changes feature to mark their editing changes. The days of writing in red pen all over hard copies of documents are largely gone. What this means is that authors and editors can communicate by email, sending versions of the document back and forth […]

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Editing One Reply to “Accepting and Rejecting Changes in Microsoft Word”
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