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blog archive

the writing life

Forget Everything You Learned in School, Part 17,593

On a flight home from grading hundreds of the 280,000 five-paragraph essays submitted for the Advanced Placement Test in English + more

My Kind of Deadline

The most recent edition of the Oxford English Dictionary—the 600,000-word “Victorian phenomenon” that is, in fact, my favorite lexical record—was + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Those who spend any amount of time around me know that I don’t suffer pretentious writers gladly. Like people who + more

Waxing Pedantic

So what’s the story with backstory? Though I’ve never particularly liked the word—bit on the redundant side, isn’t it?—I’m fine + more

How to Write Good

The inestimable Matt Labash has some advice for all you would-be writers out there. “Read more than you write,” he + more

Autre temps, autres moeurs.

There are two reasons to post a link to this story. First, €2.6 million is a cracking bargain. Second, if + more

Musings of a Wannabe

“Good writers make you want to read,” writes Matt Labash, “but great writers make you want to write. To ride + more

Thanks, Captain Obvious

I’ve been banging this drum for some time now—and it appears that the eggheads are finally on my side. From + more

Word of the Day

cupidity (noun) Excessive desire, especially for wealth; covetousness or avarice. [Middle English cupidite, from Old French, from Latin cupiditas, from cupidus, + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

With apologies to the missus, who professed to be “oogling” something this morning,* the correct word is ogle, pronounced oh-guhl. + more

A Capital Offense

While my official title is “senior copywriter,” part of my job involves editing or proofreading others’ words—work that has done + more

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your words…”

Behold the World Loanword Database! Coming to us from the fine folks at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, + more

At the Grave of Art Bell

Before my life of fame and fortune—a period I refer to on my résumé as “the wilderness years”—I did a + more


“The act of writing has always been an art,” claim the good folks behind Typatone. “Now it can also be + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Courtesy of the inestimable Shirlee Roberts-Downey (peace be upon her), we now have the answer to one of the most + more

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