at least hillary knows the difference between “alternative” and “alternate”

Horsey Trump Clinton 1500

LAST NIGHT’S SLUGFEST con­sisted of ninety min­utes of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton calling each other names (“liar” popped up more than once) and de­claring each other un­trust­worthy and unfit for of­fice. Policy dif­fer­ences and other mat­ters that should con­cern these two can­di­dates were set aside so that each could im­pugn the basic char­acter of the other! [Continue reading]

some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in benghazi

THE LAST WORD ANYONE would use to de­scribe me is “conservative”—at least not re­garding most is­sues re­lated to pol­i­tics. But there’s more to life than pol­i­tics: I re­main old-fashioned on the issue of pre­scrip­tive versus de­scrip­tive dic­tio­naries (strongly be­lieving in the former) and the misuse of the des­ig­nated hitter in major league base­ball (not at all what you think). [Continue reading]

far out! I’m another blog’s blog of the month!

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LAST YEAR, I pub­lished an ar­ticle ti­tled “on william strunk and el­e­ments of style (and con­cise vig­orous writing)” here on Neal Umphred Dot Com. It’s as boring as the title makes it sound—you’d have to give a damn about the most im­por­tant figure and the most im­por­tant book in the his­tory of Amer­ican writing on the inses and outses of writing readably! [Continue reading]

can you be “electrified” by a slam dunk victory?

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I PUT DOWN MY MUG OF COFFEE and reached into my desk drawer and dex­ter­ously pulled out my minia­ture samurai-sword letter-opener with the dropbear-tooth handle. After staring into space for a few sec­onds and mum­bling, “That’s not a knife—this is a knife,” I took a few swipes in front of me with the foot-long blade, voicing the ap­pro­priate martial-arts-movie swooshing-sounds as it cut the air. [Continue reading]

on those pesky dashes as punctuation marks

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USE OF THE DASH FOR PUNCTUATION is a lost art in con­tem­po­rary Amer­ican Eng­lish (AmE) and British Eng­lish (BrE) for many writers and ap­par­ently many type­set­ters. It’s a shame, as a well-placed dash or ten can ease the flow of reading and there­fore lead to in­creased un­der­standing and plea­sure. [Continue reading]