Category: Effective Writing

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 …

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Resolutions for Word Nerds

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at 11:09 am

Below you’ll find our New Year’s resolutions for self-appointed guardians of the English language. We language cops need our own code of ethics to protect us from ourselves and shield others from our self-righteousness. The Stickler’s Ten Commandments for 2016 1) Thou shalt proofread. Proofreading your work is a dying art—but why is that? Do …

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Year-End Quiz

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 2:31 pm

To close out 2015 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may—or may not—need fixing. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and …

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Give the Gift of Pedantry

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 6:43 pm

If there is a logophile—word lover—on your holiday gift list, you can’t go wrong with What in the Word? by Charles Harrington Elster. Elster is a formidable scholar, but he has written a book that is fun to read, yet packed with information. Scattered throughout the book’s seven chapters are astute quotations, “fascinating facts,” and …

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Things We Will Never Say

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at 10:49 am

There are certain words or phrases that seem to cast a spell over people. All at once some expression is all the rage, and there is no escaping it. It is hard to say anything positive about this particular manifestation of herd mentality but we’ll try: It’s better than a lynch mob. Have you noticed …

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