Inception and Conception

A reader has asked for a post on the words inception and conception, speculating, “Might they be synonymous?” Conception comes […]

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Words of the Year

Since the 1990s–beginning with the American Dialect Society—various entities, including dictionaries and individual lexicographers, have announced Words of the Year […]

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We Gotta Use Words

In T.S. Eliot’s play, Sweeney Agonistes, Sweeney complains, “I gotta use words when I talk to you.” Every day, I […]

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Data Is and Media Are

Some speakers continue to insist that the noun data must be used only as a plural, but the consensus is […]

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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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