Tag: Kory Stamper

January 24, 2019

Science and Shit

A recent discussion on Twitter about whether the line “I’m gonna have to science the shit out out of this” was in Andy Weir’s book The Martian or was only found in the movie reminded me of one of my favorite facts: science and shit are related. So let’s science the shit out of this […]

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Etymology 5 Replies to “Science and Shit
November 20, 2017

Book Review: Word by Word

Disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this book from the publisher, Pantheon Books. I also consider Kory Stamper a friend. A lot of work goes into making a book, from the initial writing and development to editing, copyediting, design and layout, proofreading, and printing. Orders of magnitude more work go into making […]

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Book Reviews 0 Replies to “Book Review: Word by Word
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?”
November 4, 2015

The Drunk Australian Accent Theory

Last week a story started making the rounds claiming that the Australian accent is the result of an “alcoholic slur” from heavy-drinking early settlers. Here’s the story from the Telegraph, which is where I first saw it. The story has already been debunked by David Crystal and others, but it’s still going strong. The story […]

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Rants, Sociolinguistics 6 Replies to “The Drunk Australian Accent Theory”
April 27, 2015

Language, Logic, and Correctness

In “Why Descriptivists Are Usage Liberals”, I said that there some logical problems with declaring something to be right or wrong based on evidence. A while back I explored this problem in a piece titled “What Makes It Right?” over on Visual Thesaurus. The terms prescriptive and descriptive were borrowed from philosophy, where they are […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 4 Replies to “Language, Logic, and Correctness”
June 10, 2014

Do Usage Debates Make You Nauseous?

Several days ago, the Twitter account for the Chicago Manual of Style tweeted, “If you’re feeling sick, use nauseated rather than nauseous. Despite common usage, whatever is nauseous induces nausea.” The relevant entry in Chicago reads, Whatever is nauseous induces a feeling of nausea—it makes us feel sick to our stomachs. To feel sick is […]

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Usage, Words 18 Replies to “Do Usage Debates Make You Nauseous?”
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