Talking about Age in the Media

About forty-two million Americans are 65 years or older. Advertisers, politicians, and researchers often need to refer to this group, but finding a term that will not insult its members is not easy.

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Epic, Really Epic

The word epic is used so sloppily these days that a modern day polar explorer referring to the harrowing and courageous exploits of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic expedition felt that modification was needed.

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Amnesty is Already a Verb

A reader questions a word she heard spoken by a Fox News announcer: [The announcer used] the non-word “amnetize” to mean “granting amnesty to.” Just to make sure that it is not a real word, I looked it up as “amnetize” and “amnitize.” How can we stop this grammatical ugliness before it spreads?

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Formatting Book Titles in the Digital Age

A reader wonders why he is seeing book titles presented in all capitals: I’ve even seen publishers and editors do it, so I started thinking maybe I was misinformed.

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Facing the Worst

The English word face may be used as either a noun or a verb, as illustrated by these citations from the Oxford English Dictionary.

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Head Words

English has several words that derive from caput, the Latin word for head. Here are just a few.

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Spell My Name Right

“I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” No one knows who said it first, but anyone who has ever written for a newspaper or magazine has heard some version of this quotation.

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Overwhelm is a Verb, Isn’t It?

Sharing the reader’s distress at the sight of overwhelm used as a noun, I launched a Web search to see how common the usage might be. I found more examples than I expected.

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Reclusion vs. Seclusion

A reader asks to know the difference between “reclusion and seclusion, reclusive and seclusive.”

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How Perfect Is the Present Perfect?

Because the adjective perfect derives from a Latin verb meaning “to accomplish, to perform, to complete,” explanations of the perfect forms of the verb often begin something like this.

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Convicted Felon

A person who commits a felony is called a felon. A felony is a serious crime; what constitutes a felony differs from state to state, but in every state, crimes fall into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.

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Citing Daily Writing Tips

It is a source of satisfaction to me that the articles on the Daily Writing Tips site are often cited in bibliographies. Because the articles are accessed long after their original publication dates, I’m extremely grateful when readers browsing past articles call my attention to typos in any of the archived posts, so they may be corrected.

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