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  • A Perfectly Nice Drink

    Published: 4/01/2017
    Yes, Christmas and New Year’s Day are over, and their celebrations too. But now in most of the country, winter has newly arrived, and it isn’t going away any time soon. Nor are politics, f ... Read more
  • Getting Over Gifting

    Published: 2/01/2017
    Christmas and Hanukkah have done their work, and it’s time to look soberly at the wreckage. You have given gifts and received them, whether you liked it or not. And whether you’ve liked it or not, you ... Read more
  • Hashtag Christmas and Emoji New Year!

    Published: 22/12/2016
    Back in 1990, the internet was young, and print still ruled, as it had since the days of Johannes Gutenberg. It followed then that the American Dialect Society, introducing the notion of a Word of the ... Read more
  • A Means to a Question

    Published: 21/12/2016
    Last week I was writing a memo (as I am known to do when I am wearing my administrative hat), and I suddenly found myself contemplating the grammar of a phrase I had never before given a moment’s thou ... Read more
  • Where Are the Happiness Boys?

    Published: 19/12/2016
    Exactly 58 years ago today (I write on December 17, 2016), E.B. White wrote a letter of protest to his editor, J.G. Case, who had been trying to get him to take some grammar advice and modify some of ... Read more
  • Make American Accents Great Again

    Published: 14/12/2016
    Image by Jenny Chang, courtesy of BuzzFeed* A recent Daily Briefing email newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education to its subscribers included this snippet of news from a sample of faculty me ... Read more
  • Words for a Year of Fear

    Published: 8/12/2016
    This week Time magazine announced its Person of the Year,  the person who made the most news in 2016. To nobody’s surprise, that was Donald Trump. But what about the Word of the Year 2016? That& ... Read more
  • For Want of an Oxford Comma

    Published: 7/12/2016
    The minor yet highly controversial issue of the Oxford Comma (or serial comma) arises solely in one very restricted context: what is known in classical grammar as a monosyndetic multiple coordination ... Read more
  • Researching ‘Research’

    Published: 6/12/2016
    Some pronunciation shifts are squarely on my radar. For example, I feel like I am hearing more and more people pronounce the noun program with a schwa in the second syllable. For me, the second syllab ... Read more