Highlighted and Greenlit

A reader encountered the question of what past ending to use with the verb to highlight as in “to mark […]

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When S Says Z and F says V

Browsing the comments attached to a previous post, I came across this lament about two changes in pronunciation that seem […]

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When Only Standard Usage Will Do

When I began writing about English usage, I would label sentences as “correct” and “incorrect.” I don’t do that anymore […]

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Slurry and Flurry

Almost right is not good enough. I read this in the Daily Mail during hurricane season: . . . the […]

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The Half-life of Verbs

The term half-life existed before the term was applied to the breakdown of a radioactive substance. One earlier meaning was […]

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Color Symbolism in Writing

Advertisers pay a great deal of attention to the colors that go into their marketing materials. There’s even a branch […]

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Endearing and Ravished

English has such a rich vocabulary, writers have little excuse to use a word that is almost right. As Twain […]

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Fossil L-Words

An aspect of English spelling that fascinates me is the existence of what I call “fossil words”— words in which […]

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Demise of the -er Comparative

Perhaps, like me, you were taught in elementary school that most one-syllable adjectives, plus two-syllable adjectives that end in y, […]

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