A writer friend of mine posted a social media query asking for advice on verb choice. The phrase in question was “… since everyone and his poodle own/owns a gun…” Should the verb be in the singular or the plural? More than fifty people weighed in. Some reasoned that there was a compound subject […]
I always see some shocked faces when I tell a classroom of college students that there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with the word and (or for that matter, the words but, because, or however). I encourage them to not to take my word for it but to look it up, so I refer them to Ernest Gowers’ 1965 revision of Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
Word of the Year season has closed with the selections of the American Dialect Society this past weekend, so it’s time to reflect on the different words of the 2015. The refugee crisis and gender politics have featured prominently in selections around the globe as well as the influence of technology.
I was late turning in this reflection. Do you know how embarrassing that is? The former Editor missing a deadline to the current Editor? Apparently blogging muscles atrophy after you adapt to writing mostly in 140-character sprints.
Yesterday we shared 34 selections of the OUPblog’s best work as judged by sharp editorial eyes and author favorites. However, only one of those selections coincides with the most popular posts according to pageviews. Does Google Analytics know something that our editors do not? Do these articles simply “pop” (and promptly deflate)? Or are there certain questions to which people always demand an answer?
Word of the Year season closed this weekend with the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society. As usual, major news stories dominated selections, but there has been a notable uptick in social media-related choices. It is interesting to note how hashtags are becoming more prevalent with #IndyRef as a common runner-up, and #dirtypolitics and #blacklivesmatter winning the title.
By Alice Northover
Word of the Year season in the English-speaking world has come to a close. Oxford Dictionaries kicked off the annual reflection (and often infuriation) regarding words that were particularly relevant this past year. Here’s a brief round-up of the various words singled out by dictionaries, linguists, and enthusiasts.
By Alice Northover
While most people are getting excited for the start of awards season on Sunday with the Golden Globes, the season has just ended for word nerds. From November through January, the Word(s) of the Year announcements are made. I’ll let you decide who is the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAGs, National Film Critics Circle, etc. of the lexicography community. Just remember YOLO — because it appeared on every list.
By Dennis Barron
For perhaps the first time ever, a candidate was struck from an Arizona ballot for poor English. Judge John Nelson, of the Yuma County Superior Court, ruled that Alejandrina Cabrera cannot run for city council in the border town of San Luis because she doesn’t know enough English to fulfill her duties.
There’s a new breed of dictionary, untouched by human hands. The New York Times reports that teams of programmers have developed software that automates the making of dictionaries, eliminating the need for human lexicographers, who may favor some words and neglect others.
Tweet By Dennis Baron By rights, OK should not have become the world’s most popular word. It was first used as a joke in the Boston Morning Post on March 23, 1839, a shortening of the phrase “oll korrect,” itself an incorrect spelling of “all correct.” The joke should have run its course, and OK […]
Apparently an English professor was ejected from a Starbucks on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for–she claims–not deploying Starbucks’ mandatory corporate-speak. The story immediately lit up the internet, turning her into an instant celebrity. Just as Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who couldn’t take it anymore, became the heroic employee who finally bucked the system when he cursed out nasty passengers over the intercom and deployed the emergency slide to make his escape, Lynne Rosenthal was the customer who cared so much about good English that she finally stood up to the coffee giant and got run off the premises by New York’s finest for her troubles. Well, at least that’s what she says happened.
They’re coming, and they’ll be here by September! Robot teachers, programmed with a single mission: to save our failing schools. Funded by the Frankenstein Foundation, computer engineers in secret mountain laboratories and workshops hidden deep below the desert floor are feverishly soldering chips and circuit boards onto bits of aluminum to create mechanical life forms whose sole purpose is to teach English. We need this invasion of English-teaching robots because, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, “an unprecedented number of children in the US start public school with major deficits in basic academic skills, including vocabulary skills.”
In a list of the colonies’ grievances against King George III Jefferson wrote, “he has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property.” But the future president, whose image now graces the two-dollar bill, must have realized right away that “fellow-subjects” was the language of monarchy, not democracy, because “while the ink was still wet” Jefferson took out “subjects” and put in “citizens.”
Well the time has come for me to say goodbye to all of you lovely readers. Running the OUPblog has been a dream job and leaving is very bittersweet. So I thought before I left we could take a trip down memory lane and review some of the best blog posts of the past. This list certainly is not conclusive, just a few of the thousands of posts I had the honor of sharing with you. Please keep in touch. You can follow my adventures on twitter @FordBecca. Ciao!
A look at the iPad.