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is the consistent misuse of “moot” is just a moo point anyway?

SEVERAL WORDS ARE MISUSED with great consistently—and often great dexterity—on the internet. “Moot” is one of them. Given that it can be used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective, it’s not surprising that users get things mixed up and become misusers and even abusers. While its use as an adjective is what I want to address here, I might as well give you the whole shebang. [Continue reading]

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the heyday in the blood is tame (and what is a heyday?)

I JUST PUT the finishing touches on a rewrite and update of an old article of mine on ’60s teen model Colleen Corby. While rereading the text and checking to see if the images were linked to their source, the opening sentence caught my attention. It read, “The term ‘supermodel’ didn’t exist when Colleen Corby was in her glory days during the 1960s.” [Continue reading]

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those fabulous furless geek brothers (rendered unimportant by recent events)

THE BIG BANG THEORY is an endlessly rewatchable show: aside from the fabulous characters and the intertwining of their personal lives, the dialog is chock-a-block full of humor of all sorts, from the zany to the kind that requires the viewer either have a reasonable IQ or access to the Internet to look things up. [Continue reading]

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if william strunk was a typographer, would he omit needless spaces

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE has been around for almost one-hundred years, but it didn’t start its march to universal acclaim until 1959. That year saw the first edition of William Strunk’s little book expanded from 43 pages to 78 pages by “co-author” E.B. White. Forty years earlier, Professor Strunk had published the book as a guide for his students at Cornell University. [Continue reading]

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my forte is not my “fortay”—it’s just my “fort”

WE HEAR IT and we say it incorrectly! We usually hear “fortay” when people say “forte,” an almost universally mispronounced word! I can’t say it’s a part of everyone’s daily vocabulary, but if you read enough you’ll come across it regularly. I’m writing this because it was used in a couple of movies that we watched recently. [Continue reading]

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on william strunk and vigorously concise writing

WILLIAM STRUNK JR was Professor of English at Cornell University. In 1918, he self-published a guide for his students on English usage and writing called The Elements Of Style. The slim book consisted primarily of eight “elementary rules of usage” and ten “elementary principles of composition” accompanied by a “few matters of form.’ [Continue reading]

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

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]

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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]

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are there supposed to be spaces between the dots in an ellipsis?

EVERY READER has seen those three dots in the midst of a sentence that tells them something is happening. These dots are called an ‘ellipsis’ and are associated with missing text, often quoted from another source. The word is from the Greek ‘elleipsis’ and means falling short—or for writers and grammarians—it means omission. [Continue reading]