Year: 2016

December 9, 2016

Prescriptivism and Language Change

Recently, John McIntyre posted a video in which he defended the unetymological use of decimate to the Baltimore Sun’s Facebook page. When he shared it to his own Facebook page, a lively discussion ensued, including this comment: Putting aside all the straw men, the ad absurdums, the ad hominems and the just plain sillies, answer […]

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Usage, Words 6 Replies to “Prescriptivism and Language Change”
November 28, 2016

15% Off Plus Free Shipping

I should have posted this sooner, but better late than never. Spreadshirt, the home of the Arrant Pedantry Store, currently has a promotion for 15% off plus free shipping, and it ends tonight. If you’ve been thinking of getting one of the new We Can Even! shirts for that special person in your life for […]

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Uncategorized 0 Replies to “15% Off Plus Free Shipping”
November 15, 2016

Whence Did They Come?

In a recent episode of Slate’s Lexicon Valley podcast, John McWhorter discussed the history of English personal pronouns. Why don’t we use ye or thee and thou anymore? What’s the deal with using they as a gender-neutral singular pronoun? And where do they and she come from? The first half, on the loss of ye […]

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Grammar, Historical linguistics 5 Replies to “Whence Did They Come?”
October 31, 2016

Stupidity on Singular They

A few weeks ago, the National Review published a singularly stupid article on singular they. It’s wrong from literally the first sentence, in which the author, Josh Gelernter, says that “this week, the 127-year-old American Dialect Society voted the plural pronoun ‘they,’ used as a singular pronoun, their Word of the Year.” It isn’t from […]

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Grammar, Usage 19 Replies to “Stupidity on Singular They
October 24, 2016

New Shirt Design: We Can Even!

I’m pleased to announce a new T-shirt design in my shop: We Can Even! It’s a classic design updated for this modern era of being unable to even. And through October 25, you can get free shipping on all orders in the Arrant Pedantry Store when you use the coupon code JUST4YOU at checkout.

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Uncategorized 0 Replies to “New Shirt Design: We Can Even!”
September 21, 2016

Book Review: What the F

Disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this book from the publisher, Basic Books. I was a little nervous when I was asked to review Benjamin K. Bergen’s new book, What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. Unlike many of my linguist and editor friends, I’m not […]

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Book Reviews 3 Replies to “Book Review: What the F
September 8, 2016

To Boldly Split Infinitives

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek, so I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about split infinitives. (So did Merriam-Webster, which beat me to the punch.) If you’re unfamiliar with split infinitives or have thankfully managed to forget what they are since your high school days, it’s […]

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Grammar, Usage 7 Replies to “To Boldly Split Infinitives”
September 5, 2016

Book Review: The Subversive Copy Editor

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the University of Chicago Press. I have a terrible editor confession:1You can choose to read that either as a terrible confession for an editor or as the confession of a terrible editor. until now, I had not read Carol Fisher Saller’s book The Subversive Copy […]

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Book Reviews 6 Replies to “Book Review: The Subversive Copy Editor
August 26, 2016

Whoa There

Recently, the freelance writer and film critic Eric Snider tweeted this: ME: It's 'whoa,' not 'woah.' It's not like 'yeah.' THE INTERNET: I don't know how to spell 'yeah' either. — Eric D. Snider (@EricDSnider) August 3, 2016 A few days later, a friend linked to this discussion thread on Goodreads started by sci-fi/fantasy author […]

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Spelling 4 Replies to “Whoa There”
July 12, 2016

Book Review: But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the University of Chicago Press. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I heard that the University of Chicago Press was putting out a collection of questions and answers from the popular Chicago Style Q&A. What’s the point of having it […]

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Book Reviews 2 Replies to “Book Review: But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”?
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