“Quit” as Predicate Adjective

Does anyone else cringe at the use of quit in the commercial that says: 44% of … users were quit during weeks 9 to 12 of treatment. The context screams for quit as a verb, not as a predicate adjective: 44% of users … had quit after nine weeks. The OED’s entry for quit “in … Read more

Warbling and Garbling

I thought I knew the meaning of warble and garble. If asked to define them, I’d say that warble means “to sing melodiously” and garble means “to distort spoken words,” or “to distort the sense of something written.” These definitions from the OED suggest that I’m on the right track: warble: v. intr. To modulate … Read more

Despite or In Spite of?

More than one reader has asked for a post on despite vs in spite of. Joanna Gryglicki wants to know if there’s any difference. or is it a matter of personal preference?” T.J. Burkett says I try not to use “in spite” because it sounds too harsh in most cases, but I’m unsure of the … Read more

Language Lovers Unite!

Kathryn McCary has asked for a post on when to use a and when to use an. Her request was prompted by the following passage she read in a piece of professionally produced corporate publicity: Since the HLB is a secured lender, all of our credit products require collateral to maintain our positions [sic] as … Read more

The Writer’s 5 Ws

Yes, it’s Journalism 101, but people who should have it engraved upon the doorposts of their hearts still manage to forget that every news story should contain the Five Ws (and sometimes the H of “how”). As editor for a site for writers, I solicit announcements about events that have to do with writing. I … Read more

You Can Buy Our Book On The Kindle Now

The Kindle fans out there can now buy our book on that platform. Just visit the official Amazon page, and you’ll be able to purchase and download it immediately. If you end up buying we would appreciate if you could write a review on Amazon, as these help to give credibility to the book. You … Read more

What’s a “glitz novel”?

Lately I’ve been scouring the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents and keep coming across “glitz” as a genre. For example Fiction areas of interest: Action/Adventure, Experimental, Family Saga, Glitz, Historical, Humor, Literary, Mainstream, Mystery/Suspense, Religious, Thriller, Women’s. So what exactly is the “glitz” genre? Writing about Judith Krantz’s Dazzle for the [Florida] Sun-Sentinel in 1990, … Read more

Interpreters and Commentators

Mike Feeney overheard a business owner repeatedly [mention] that they would be using an “interpretator” and has asked for a post on interpreter/interpretator and commenter and commentator interpreter: one who interprets or explains; one who translates languages. In current usage, “interpretator” is nonstandard, as is the obsolete verb formation “interpretate.” The OED has an entry … Read more

Bits and Bytes

In its election manifesto, one of the major political parties in the UK recently promised to provide “virtually every household in the country a broadband service of at least 2 megabytes per second by 2012.” The “2 megabytes per second” was actually a mistake. A speed of two megabytes per second is the same way … Read more

Flounder and Founder

Jim Eggensperger asks: Have you done flounder and founder recently? As nouns, a flounder is a fish and a founder is someone who establishes something. Founder is also a disease of the horse’s foot known as laminitis. This post is about flounder and founder as verbs. flounder: to struggle violently and clumsily founder: of a … Read more

“Ma’am” and Regional Colonialism

Where I come from, children are taught that responding to grownups with a mere “yes” or “no” is impolite. “Yeah” is unforgivably rude. As a child I was taught to say “yes, sir, no, ma’am” and when I grew up, I continued to say it. When I lived in England, women whom I’d addressed as … Read more

“Trifecta” Not Always Appropriate

Libby Lewis wonders about the “different meanings of trifecta.”: I had a student use it in a paper addressing racial discrimination: ‘…the United States’ ever growing trifecta of white, black, and brown.’ …another student cited an article from MuscleMag magazine entitled ‘Your Tri-Fecta for success.’…Can this word be used as a general reference to any … Read more