blog archive

Quote of the Day

“Writing should always be exploratory. There shouldn’t be the assumption that you know ahead of time what you want to + more

Quote of the Day

From Frank L. Cioffi’s indispensable One Day in the Life of the English Language: A Microcosmic Usage Handbook (2015), comes this + more

Speaking of Boxing

­Around here, we do words as well as we can. And sometimes we do them pretty well, though we try + more

Need a Hand with Your Words?

So while I was taking a break from being awesome today, I completed the Chicago Style Workout 17: Hyphens, Part + more

Thursday Thoughts

Can you spot the typo in the following excerpt from page 243 of Where the Water Goes (2017) by David Owen? + more

Stop! Grammar time!

Sarah Sweet’s “Barbarians at the Gates of Grammar” reminds me a little bit of Mark Twain’s apocryphal “When I was a boy of + more

It’s Not Just You: English Really Is Weird

A friend alerted me to John McWhorter’s delightful essay “English is not normal” over at Aeon. Here’s how it begins: English + more

Today in History

The Reverend Sydney Smith to Lady Holland, May 23, 1811: How very odd, dear Lady Holland, to ask me to + more

Word of the Day

hebdomadal (adjective) Taking place, coming together, publishing, or appearing once a week; weekly. Arriving late to helveticka’s hebdomadal staff meeting, Aaron + more

A Neologism a Day Keeps the Clarity Away

This story is all kinds of stupid. But rather than delve into politics, let’s instead focus on that awful word in the + more

Quote of the Day

“At a time when almost everyone writes poetry but scarcely anyone can write a poem, it is hard not to + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

In One Day in the Life of the English Language: A Microcosmic Usage Handbook (Princeton University Press, 2015), Frank L. + more


Today I was going to write about the recent decision by the editors of the AP Stylebook—perhaps my least favorite + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Unwieldy? Or unwieldly? This is a tough one—because neither the correct word nor its root are all that common these days. We generally + more

“Hello darkness, my old friend…”

“The sounds of the office are essentially sounds of paper and machines. Here are some of them, in a rough + more

Word of the Day

tartle (verb; Scottish) To hesitate in recognizing a person or thing. “Good morning, Courtney,” said Aaron cheerfully as he arrived + more

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

“Just as much as synthesizers, hairspray and record sleeves in the Russian abstract style,” writes Paul Genders at TLS Online, + more

Quote of the Day

“No one ever taught me how to write, and I’ve never made a study of writing techniques. So how did + more

Sign of the Times

Wandering the aisles of Target over the weekend, I came across this curiosity: a section of products developed for the + more

Now THAT’s a Lede

The word lede is essentially journalism jargon for the introductory sentence or paragraph designed either to (a) provide all the + more

More Homophonophilia! Yay!

Following up on yesterday’s post, here are a couple of of my favorite homophones: discreet and discrete. What makes these particularly fun is that they’re + more

Homophone Alert!

Over at the PBS Newshour website, I came across this: “There is a lot of pressure in academia to tow + more

Always Relevant

I subscribe to a lot of daily and weekly newsletters/blogs/rantings, etc. Some for fun. Some for knowledge. Some to just + more

Funny Business

From the very first time I read the Journal of Business, I’ve looked forward to seeing the handiwork of local + more

Stop! Grammar time!

Regular reader Mike W. (not his real name) has a question: “Is it all right to use alright instead of + more

Poetry Break

In his Poetry Notebook (Liveright, 2014), Clive James says that “Man on the Moon” by Australian poet Stephen Edgar is “a perfect + more

Words of Wisdom

I’m usually the first one in the office—sometimes by only 10 minutes or so, sometimes by a full hour. It’s + more

Word of the Day

yugen (noun; Japanese) A sense of indescribable depth and profundity. After reading Aaron’s latest blog post, Courtney was suddenly overcome by + more

Better Writing through Reading

Grammar got you down? There’s a solution. “We know that grammar lessons alone do not improve writing much, if at + more

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

It’s Elmore Leonard’s birthday today. He would have been 91. Fifteen years ago Leonard published “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points + more

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