In grammatical and usage news this past month: a political email scandal involving risotto and apostrophes; some fishy regional accents, literally; how we’ll all be talking in 50 years’ time; Trump gets it wrong yet again; a British supermarket with a name that’s already been taken (by Iceland, for itself); a dictionary goes online; and those familiar experiences and concepts that desperately need a word or name to describe them … Continue reading
“…And they’re taking it over bigly.” … “Obamacare kicks in in 2016, really bigly.” … “I’m talking about illegal immigrants … At least Fox is being honest because they’re now talking about it bigly.” … “Mexico is ripping off the United States bigly and we have to do something about it.” Donald Trump likes that word bigly, but is it legit?
According to Merriam Webster, it’s an adverb.
“Thursday brought another WikiLeaks dump of nearly 2,000 emails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign, allegedly by Russians. As usual, they were inside-the-beltway gossip rather than game-changing.” So The Guardian reported earlier this week. What does “beltway gossip” mean? Continue reading
“Ohio, Long a Bellwether, Is Fading on the Electoral Map” So read a headline in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago. What exactly does bellwether mean, and where does the word come from? Continue reading
Courtesy Twitter and The Onion.
It’s National Poetry Day in the UK. Here’s a poem for 2016 by American poet Denise Duhamel.
Exquisite Candidate Continue reading
We use them all the time: adjectives that originally came from real or proper names. In its simplest form — a French kiss, a Shakespearean turn-of-phrase, a Freudian slip — it seems only fair that a proper name should retain its proper capitalized status when it steps out as an adjective. However, a word can lose its initial luster when an adjective starts to assert its own “improper” identity and emancipate itself from its lofty namesake. “In August, a teenager from Iowa cooked dozens of similarly Lilliputian pancakes for her chickens,” reported New York magazine yesterday. Here, the miniaturizing adjective named after Jonathan Swift’s fictional island was allowed to keep its proper L. “Toronto tries to simplify byzantine PATH map,” the Toronto Star said in a headline on Monday, with the Canadian paper’s editors denying byzantine its capital B despite the adjective taking its name from a real but ancient empire. Why is there a difference in treatment between the two? Continue reading
I know, I know: it’s missing its apostrophe. I’m glad you’re paying attention, folks, because it’s National Punctuation Day! Here’s how several media outlets celebrated this auspicious day … Continue reading
Can you spot the odd one (or -in) out? Typical Brits …