blog archive

Think Good, Write Gooder

From Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose, by Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner (Princeton University Press, 1994): + more

Silver Lining Alert

Joshua Gill, Daily Caller: “Sergey Savitsky, an engineer at Bellingshausen Station in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, stands accused of + more

Sounds great!

You know Gmail’s new “Smart Reply” feature? Those “bland formulations of convenient and functional corporate language” that sit there at + more

Word of the Day

adjal (noun; Indonesian) the predestined hour of one’s death As Steven washed down his breakfast of pizza-flavored Pringles with a + more

Quote of the Day

Ever come across something so profound that you simply have no response other than to smack yourself on the forehead + more

Take Two Sonnets and Call Me in the Morning

As I may have mentioned here once or twice before, I like to begin each day with a little poetry. + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Jealous vs. envious. Synonyms? Not quite. Let’s say you see Skooch roll up to helveticka world headquarters in his sweet new + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

When people ask me for advice on writing,* I’ll often respond with “Never use utilize. Always use use.” Sure, it’s + more


This brilliant article over at The Outline is chock full of aphorisms that ought to be cross-stitched on pillows in + more

We Live in Stupid Times

All this straw-banning nonsense is, well…just that: nonsense. Given that 60 percent of the plastic in the oceans comes from + more


“From certain angles,” writes Nick Davidson over at Outside magazine, “it looks like we’re hanging over the precipice. Climate change-fueled + more

All Hail Long-Form Journalism

Years ago, when I was flirting with the rather ridiculous notion of pursuing an MFA in creative writing, I came + more

Quote of the Day

Apparently Swiss-born British philosopher and “writer of essayistic books” Alain de Botton knows me personally: “Work finally begins,” he says, “when + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Let’s talk about compounds and hyphenation. Y’all know what a compound is, right? Two or more words, put together, that + more

It Matters

“Writers think I’m out to destroy their prose,” says Atlantic senior copy editor Karen Ostergren. “Laypeople think I’m a human + more

Poetry Break

Cumberland Clark—the “Bard of Bournemouth”—was, according to Anthony Daniels, the second-worst poet in the English language.* How bad was he? + more

Words of Wisdom

“When a new thing…is presented us our first criticisms are not our truest, best, most homefelt, or most lasting but + more

Fight! Fight!

Shots fired: The most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association states that two spaces should + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Let’s talk about anyway, any way, and anyways. Because there is, in fact, a difference. Anyway is an adverb that + more

We’re Way Ahead of You, Mr. Smarty-Pants

Spring 2016. A blog post by yours truly rails against the pernicious misuse of the word curate. Spring 2018. Wilfred + more

The voice of one crying in the wilderness…

Lionel Shriver bravely tackles the “cultural appropriation” mob over at Prospect magazine. “Given that the better part of the human + more

The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization in 33 Words

Look, I’ve written some pretty cool stuff in my time. But even if I live to be 100, I know I’ll + more

Sweet, Sweet Justice

Did y’all hear? Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute that “hinged entirely on the lack of an Oxford comma in + more

This Is Literally the Best Thing Ever

I don’t care what anyone says. Trigger Smith, owner of the Continental, a “divey mainstay of Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood + more

The Blind Delight of Being

“Poetry,” writes Christian Wiman in today’s New York Times, “is the deepest expression, and the best hope for survival, of a + more

Multiplicative Idiocy

The Oatmeal has, as usual, nailed it: “Two half-wits do not equal a full-witted person. They equal a quarter-witted person.” + more

“As for man, his days are like grass…”

The two or three of you who regularly follow this blog will no doubt have noticed that we’ve been somewhat + more

“Whoa. Check out the tailfins on this year’s Mongoose Civique!”

In 1955, Robert B. Young, of Ford Motor Company’s marketing research department, sent a letter to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Modernist + more

Words of Wisdom

When people have their writing “corrected,” they usually discover that their long, complicated sentences receive the most correction and criticism. + more

All Hail Professor Toor

Everything about Rachel Toor’s column in Saturday’s Spokesman-Review is absolutely spot-on. Well…almost everything. Toward the end she writes, “As a professor, I’ve + more

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