Friends Joey Superman 1500

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]

Hamlet LaurenceOlivier JeanSimmons 1500 crop

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]

BigBangTheory caricature Jsoleb 1500

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]

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]

Forte fort4 1500

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]

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]