Formal Fused Words

Inasmuch as it pains me to say it, notwithstanding my affection for fused words, nevertheless, I encourage readers to use some of the words listed hereinafter sparingly and others not at all.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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From Atlas to Atlanticists

Intrigued by a reference to the political term Atlanticism, heretofore unbeknownst to me, I researched the history of the name of the ocean that separates the western and eastern hemispheres. This post defines and discusses these and related terms.

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The Connection Between Time and Temper

The Latin noun tempus, meaning “season” or “time,” is the source of time and other words pertaining to chronological measurement, but it is also the origin of terms associated with literal and figurative measurement in general as well as some that have related meanings, as detailed in this post.

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Grammaz Quiz #8: Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses

In each pair of sentences below, choose the version that correctly indicates through word and punctuation choice whether an explanatory phrase is restrictive or nonrestrictive. 1. a) Smith is a spokesman for the US Army’s 800th Military Police Brigade that operates prisons in Iraq. b) Smith is a spokesman for the US Army’s 800th Military […]

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3 Sentences That Present Obstacles to Comprehension

In each of the following sentences, the statement’s wording or syntax problematically interferes with reader comprehension. Discussion and revision of each example points the way to a clear solution.

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3 Cases of Punctuation Confusion

Two primary functions of the comma are to separate independent clauses and to set off parenthetical elements, and writers often confuse the two functions when a conjunction is introduced. In the examples below, a comma has been misplaced. Discussion after each sentence explains the problem, and a revision after each shows the solution.

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Commands and Mandates

Several words pertaining to authority or obligation display their kinship with the word element mand. This post lists and defines those terms.

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When in Doubt, Leave Scare Quotes Out

When quotation marks are employed to suggest the irony or dubious validity of a word or phrase, or the writer’s remove from credit or blame for its use, they are called scare quotes. However, other uses—to introduce a new or unfamiliar term, to signal that a term is not being used in its traditional or literal sense, or to provide emphasis—are usually heavy-handed and seldom aid in clarity of composition. The sentences below, accompanied by discussions and revisions, provide examples of extraneous use of scare quotes.

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