Peruse and Some Alternatives

When I checked the Ngram Viewer to satisfy myself that “peruse through” would not come up, I was surprised to see that it does register, although barely. I stand by my initial response, that peruse takes an object and is not followed by a preposition. One might “pore over a book” but one “peruses a book.”

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How Long Is A Novel?

Before the advent of ebooks, modern fiction writers concerned themselves chiefly with two lengths: long (novels) and short (short stories).

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From Memory and By Heart

The more common idiom for doing something that is recalled and not seen is to do it “from memory.” From is more appropriate than by in this idiom because memory may be regarded as a receptacle and not as an agent.

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Friends and Amici

English boasts numerous words to convey aspects of friendship. Some are Germanic in origin and others, Latin.

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How To Pronounce Divisive

A reader has called my attention to the changing pronunciation of divisive: I am very active in politics and frequently watch television programs which feature political topics. One of THE most frustrating—and very common— mispronunciations I hear is with the word divisive.  I was taught that it is pronounced with a ‘long i’ on the second syllable—ie: resulting in it having the same, ‘long i’ sound as the word divide.

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It Ends When…

A reader is puzzled by a line in a movie: While watching The Bourne Ultimatum, I observed a CIA officer saying “It ends when we’ve won “. [I’m] a bit confused with this construction as it does not indicate future though the context of sentence [indicates that] the officer is talking about some time in future.

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Exceptions for Hyphenating Compound Adjectives

Sometimes readers ask for posts that would require superhuman powers on my part: Kindly produce an article containing all the exceptions for hyphenating compound adjectives, with examples.

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8 Expressions with the Word Quick

The version of the Apostle’s Creed I grew up with contains this sentence: “Thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” The line echoes 1 Peter 4:5 (KJV): ‘Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” The “quick and the dead” are the “living and the dead.”

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Dispositive

I think I know what the letter-writer meant by dispositive, but I can’t help wondering why he didn’t use a more familiar word when addressing a general audience.

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Rite, Shine, and Recognize

Here are three miscellaneous errors that cropped up in one morning’s batch of letters to the editor in my morning paper.

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Diminish, Decline, and Dwindle

Were I debating which of the three verbs to use—diminish, decline, or dwindle—I would weigh their distinctive emotive qualities, never giving a thought to whether they refer to countable or non-countable nouns.

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