Category: Humor

The Rise and Fall of Vogue Words

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at 7:54 pm

In the last two weeks, on various radio and television programs, I have heard the word granular used no less than five times, in sentences like “The commission was hoping for a granular analysis of the problem.” The word got my attention, but I didn’t know what it was supposed to mean. All I knew …

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When Branding Undermines Spelling

Posted on Monday, April 4, 2016, at 6:32 pm

• Spring is in the air, which means that in America, major-league baseball is on the air. In San Francisco, two members of the hometown Giants’ broadcast team are former major-leaguers Mike Krukow (pronounced CREW-ko) and Duane Kuiper (KY-per). The team’s publicity department refers to these popular announcers as “Kruk” and “Kuip,” which we are …

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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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They Never Said That

Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 2:09 pm

The popular culture has always had an uncanny ability to misuse, misinterpret, misrepresent, and misquote. Its adherents believe that Columbus discovered America and George Washington had wooden teeth and dog saliva cleanses flesh wounds. The other day I heard a goofy radio guy say, “Till death do we part.” He thought “do us part” was …

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Euphemisms: Lying to Us Gently

Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, at 10:34 am

Let’s talk about euphemisms, those soothing words meant to assure us that something’s not as bad as we know it is. A euphemism is a lullaby, a sedative, a velvet glove enfolding reality’s iron fist. In a way, the word euphemism is itself a euphemism—so much kinder and gentler than cop-out. Euphemisms are employed for …

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