Allegedly

A reader who edits financial news has observed that some writers seem to be unaware of the specific connotation of allegedly and gives this example.

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Pronoun Review #1: Reflexive Pronouns

The English reflexive pronouns are called “reflexive” because they reflect or restate another noun or pronoun that has already been stated. (In the case of an imperative sentence, the pronoun You is understood: “[You] Watch yourself on the ice!”)

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Origin of OK

The word OK has found its way into just about every language on earth. Although it’s usually written in all capitals and pronounced as separate letters, OK is a word and not an acronym, although it began as one.

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Get Your Goat

Until a reader asked me about it, I hadn’t encountered the eggcorn “to get one’s goad.” The expression is “to get one’s goat” (not goad). The earliest documentation in the OED is dated 1910.

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Hypocorisma

When Dick Cheney said, “We’re in deep doo-doo,” he was expressing himself with hypocorisma. Hypocorisma is a type of euphemism derived from a Greek word meaning “pet name.”

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Borne By, Borne On, and Borne With

The English word bear has so many definitions and uses that it could provide fodder for several posts. This article is about the use of the past participle borne followed by a preposition.

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Preposition Mistakes #1: Accused and Excited

The use of prepositions is tricky, even for native speakers. Certain prepositions are used with certain words, while others are not. Here are four examples of nonstandard usage.

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Pressured vs. Pressurized

Many American speakers, myself included, have the impulse to laugh at statements like the following: Mendendez and Ensign try to pressurize the White House.

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Vet, Vetted, Vetting

The verb vet, “investigate someone’s suitability for a job,” took the American media by storm during the presidential campaign of 2008. Vet was Number Two on Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year list that year. (Bailout was Number One.)

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Depreciate vs. Deprecate

The words depreciate and deprecate are from different Latin originals, but the difference in meaning between them is being eroded in popular usage.

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Absolutely!

Not a month goes by that someone doesn’t write to complain about the ubiquity of the word absolutely. The following objections to this word are typical.

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