Still doing the “research”:
This is from a blog post at Language Log, where Mark Liberman quotes the abstract for a course that his colleague, Geoff Pullum, was (in 2004, unfortunately) about to teach:
Try to imagine biological education being in a state where students are taught that whales are fish because that is judged easier for
Continue reading …and another bit of the same stuff.
I followed a link in a blog I read to a blog I don’t read, and found an article by Martin Robbins that starts out by claiming that "Jenny Rohn noted last September that most prominent science bloggers on the main networks are male." (I haven’t followed that link.) It goes on
Continue reading Illogical logic
Question one: What’s this?
Question two: What’s this?
The moral of the story? It’s not all about the words.
You know what the top picture is, what it means, where you might encounter it, and what to do with it. The second picture is a lot less meaningful, and yet what is it lacking,
Continue reading Storytelling – It’s NOT All About the Words
I just finished reading a book that was quite appallingly bad.
There are so many ways in which this book stinks that it’s difficult to know where to begin, so I’ll just jump in.
Dated research. There were so many
Continue reading Why Corporate Publishing is so Much Better Than Self-Publishing
In some uses, you can use couple without of:
They are a couple.
It is a retreat for couples.
In others, you cannot:
I will list a couple of examples here.
She has a couple of books in her house.
Here’s the key: replace couple with pair, and see if you need of:
They are a pair.
NOT: They are a pair of.
Continue reading Mini-Rant o’ the Day: “Couple”
As all three of my regular readers know, I have a list of what I call “the basic tools of the writer.” These are (in no particular order) spelling, punctuation, diction, syntax, and grammar. I periodically get emails about one or another of this list, typically doing one of two things: either telling me what
Continue reading The Importance of Diction
I’ve said this before, and now I’m going to say it again.
Maybe not so nicely this time.
When your friend approaches you with a manuscript, hot off the printer and dripping ink, and your friend says to you “Hey, you! (says your friend to you) Tell me what you think of the choices I’ve
Continue reading Online Feedback: Part II
The word “re” is not an abbreviation.
Nor is it an acronym or an initialization. It is simply a Latin word. Originally, it was almost invariably used in the phrase “in re,” meaning “in regard to.” From Wikipedia:
In re, Latin for "in the matter [of]", is a legal term used to indicate that
Continue reading Re “re”
Reposted from an article I wrote on www.webook.com.
He’s studied the Rules extensively, not so that he’ll know what to do and what not to do, but so that he’ll know what to do openly and what to sneak around at.
–The Bumbler’s Apprentice, Other Loves
“The Rules of Drafting,” the teacher writes across
Continue reading The First Rule of Drafting
The Search for a Universal Pronoun May Have Found Its Own Beginning
I have to say that it has bothered me for some time that people use “they” as a singular pronoun. But it has bothered me even more that it’s so easy to do.
My newest dictionary, The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Ed, (2005) says:
Continue reading I May Stop Using He/She/It