Category: Definitions

No Question About It

Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at 3:59 pm

Let’s see if you can spot what is wrong with this sentence? On closer inspection, most of you will see that the sentence should end in a period rather than a question mark. Question marks are used only with direct questions. The sentence above certainly contains a direct question: what is wrong with this sentence? …

Read More

Words in Flux

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 9:30 am

The words we’ll examine today highlight the rift between language purists and less-fussy people who just want to get their point across. You probably can guess which side we are on. Podium  This word might not mean what you think it means. A podium is not a stand with a slanted top for notes or …

Read More

Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 3:19 pm

Let’s begin this installment of “Media Watch” with a headline we could do without: • “Manning and Co. bring in ’da noise” Did you catch it? Why the apostrophe? It should not be there unless one or more letters are omitted from the front of da (like the missing be in ’cause). That’s not the …

Read More

You Lost Me After “Feb”

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 11:26 am

Feb-yoo-ary. Febber-ary. Feb-wary. Can’t anyone around here say “feb-roo-ary”? It’s time to revisit dissimilation, the labored linguistic theory that purports to explain why so many of us don’t say February’s two r’s. The online American Heritage dictionary has the following usage note at “February”: “The loss of the first r in this pronunciation can be …

Read More

Pleonasms Are a Bit Much

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at 2:38 pm

The term pleonasm comes from pleonazein, a Greek word that means “more than enough.” When you use a pleonasm, you are repeating yourself. The jolly man was happy is a pleonasm: The man was happy says the same thing without the unnecessary addition of “jolly.” Serious writers want to make their point with a minimum …

Read More

1 2 3 4 5 21