Author: Jonathon Owen

September 20, 2022

Name That Car Game

A few weeks ago, I tweeted about a car game in which players call something out when they see a Volkswagen Beetle and then hit the person next to them. The game is known by a few different names, and I’m wondering if there’s any sort of geographic distribution to the names. Whether or not […]

Sociolinguistics, Varieties of English 9 Replies to “Name That Car Game”
June 21, 2022

22 Percent Off at the Arrant Pedantry Store Today

Sorry for the complete dearth of real posts lately! I promise something is coming in the near future. In the meantime, you can take advantage of one of the biggest sales of the year at the Arrant Pedantry Store. Today only, you can get 22 percent off all orders just by clicking on “Redeem” near […]

Uncategorized 0 Replies to “22 Percent Off at the Arrant Pedantry Store Today”
November 26, 2021

25 Percent Off at the Arrant Pedantry Store

Today’s the biggest sale of the year at the Arrant Pedantry Store, with 25 percent off all orders. There’s no coupon code required—just click the “Redeem” button below the navigation bar. And don’t forget that you can customize colors and even put the designs on other products. The sale only lasts today, so check it […]

Uncategorized 0 Replies to “25 Percent Off at the Arrant Pedantry Store”
November 8, 2021

I Am Begging You to Learn How Dictionaries Work

It’s a phenomenon as predictable as the tides: a dictionary adds new words or definitions, and then people grouse about those changes, either because they don’t like the new words and think that the dictionary is declaring them acceptable, or because they personally have never heard of those words before and therefore don’t see why […]

Dictionaries, Words 6 Replies to “I Am Begging You to Learn How Dictionaries Work”
May 25, 2021

A Sale and a Speaking Event

Today through May 28, you can get 20 percent off everything at the Arrant Pedantry Store—just click the “Redeem” button on the blue bar near the top. Check out old favorites like Stet Wars and Battlestar Grammatica or newer items like Hwæt and Ask Me About the Great Vowel Shift (fair warning: people will actually […]

Uncategorized 0 Replies to “A Sale and a Speaking Event”
March 22, 2021

What I Learned from Teaching Editing

Last semester I finally had the opportunity to do something I’d thought about for many years: teach a college class. I’d applied for a full-time teaching professor job before, but I’d been passed over in favor of someone with more experience. I’d also been approached about adjuncting before, but I passed up the opportunity because […]

Editing 5 Replies to “What I Learned from Teaching Editing”
August 27, 2020

Right, Wrong, and Relative

A while ago at work, I ran into a common problem: trying to decide whether to stop editing out a usage I don’t like. In this case, it was a particular use of “as such” that was bothering me. To me, “as such” is a prepositional phrase, and “such” is a pronoun that must refer […]

Usage 17 Replies to “Right, Wrong, and Relative”
March 24, 2020

Umlauts, Diaereses, and the New Yorker

Several weeks ago, the satirical viral content site Clickhole posted this article: “Going Rogue: ‘The New Yorker’ Has Announced That They’re Going To Start Putting An Umlaut Over Every Letter ‘O’ And No One Can Stop Them”. I’ve long enjoyed poking at the New Yorker for its distractingly idiosyncratic style,* but I had a couple […]

Historical linguistics, Style 11 Replies to “Umlauts, Diaereses, and the New Yorker
October 24, 2019

The “Only” Comma, pt. 1

A little while ago, one of my coworkers came to me with a conundrum. She had come across a sentence like “Ryan founded the company with his brother Scott” in something she was editing, and she couldn’t figure out if “brother” should be followed by a comma. She’d already spent quite a bit of time […]

Pragmatics, Punctuation 8 Replies to “The “Only” Comma, pt. 1”
September 10, 2019

My Latest for Grammar Girl: “Verbing Nouns and Nouning Verbs”

A lot of people dislike it when nouns like task and dialogue are turned into verbs, but this process has been a normal part of English for centuries. In my latest piece for Grammar Girl, I explain why we should all relax a little about verbing nouns. Read the whole piece or listen to the […]

Grammar, Usage 0 Replies to “My Latest for Grammar Girl: “Verbing Nouns and Nouning Verbs””
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