The Story of “Sake”

Sake is one of those nebulous yet specific words that are employed in a limited number of circumstances. This post discusses its origin and uses.

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The Impressive Range of “Impress”

Impress has various meanings, both literal and figurative. This post explorers those senses and the meanings of various words in which impress is the root.

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3 Cases of Mixed Metaphors

Efforts to describe something idiomatically with the use of metaphor—a word or phrase that figuratively provides an analogy—more than once in a sentence will likely distractingly interfere with reading comprehension, so avoid using more than one metaphor in a sentence, or at least ensure that they are complementary. Discussions after each example in this post explain the difficulty of using two metaphors, and revisions suggest a solution.

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50 Foreign Terms That Aren’t Foreign

English is a very welcoming language, adopting terms indiscriminately from other tongues. Many publishers observe a distinction between naturalized words and those still considered foreign, honoring the assimilation of the former by refraining from using any visual emphasis and italicizing those in the latter category.

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3 Examples of Dashing to the Rescue

When commas are employed to set off a break in thought, or are used to set off more than two distinct sentence elements, the result is often a flat or confusing sentence. To properly signal an abrupt syntactical change or clearly indicate syntactical hierarchy, consider replacing one or two commas with a dash or two, as described in a discussion and shown in a revision following each of the examples in this post.

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“Optics” Is in the Eye of the Beholder

How does optics—employed as a buzzword synonym for perception, not a reference to the study of light and sight—look to you? What’s your view? Do we see eye to eye? This post discusses a not-new but newly trending term whose increasing popularity says something about the way we see ourselves and our culture—and institutions that significantly influence the way we live.

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Slang Words Ending in “O”

Among the more curious classes of slang words is that of terms ending in the letter o, the topic of this post.

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3 Errors Involving Prepositions

You are attempting to describe an action, but you can’t remember whether one, say, goes in to the breach or into the breach, or whether one, for example, walks on to the next trail junction or onto the next trail junction. This post explains the respective roles of the operative words and phrases.

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Expletives and Agents

Readers are more likely to engage with writing when it is active, direct, and vivid. To that end, avoid expletives and passive construction and emphasize agents, as described in the discussion and demonstrated in the revision following each example.

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Restrictive and Unrestrictive Use of “Such As”

The phrase “such as” comes in handy for referring to specifics, but whether it begins a longer phrase framed by a pair of commas depends on whether that longer phrase is essential to the sentence or is provided as additional but nonessential information. The following sentences demonstrate erroneous use or omission of punctuation with the phrase; discussion and revision indicate correct usage.

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