Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gallagher on Words

Bossquez posted this link in a comment, but it deserves more attention that it can get there.

It's Gallagher talking about some language and logic issues. Made me laugh.

(Thanks, Bossquez!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Worst Movie Word Ever

I haven't seen it for years, but thinking about it still gags me to this day.

In "Revenge of the Sith," children in jedi training are called "younglings." When something bad happens to them, other characters exclaim in horror: Not the younglings! Not the younglings!!

How embarrassing for everyone involved ...

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commas, Commas Everywhere

I've been buried under more work than usual lately, most of it deleting and inserting commas in long lists of stuff far too boring to waste your time with here.

The work is making me comma crazy. I finally take a 10-minute break to read a CNN article and see this:

(CNN) -- Acolytes of "Food Rules" guru Michael Pollan and other well-meaning foodies who've made corn a scapegoat for the nation's health crises, this week welcomed a new study from Princeton University that suggests high-fructose corn syrup causes more significant weight gain than table sugar.

Either that comma is an unwelcome intruder between the subject and the verb or, I'm, officially, losing, it.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Copy Edit du Jour

Nurses are on hand to ensure patients stick to their treatment regimes.

Changed to "regimens."

I've never seen that mistake before. The word usually mistaken for "regimen" is "regiment."

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Monday, March 8, 2010

More Words That Don't Belong in Feature Stories

" ... which means that a hospital has demonstrated its commitment to providing excellence in patient care."

Even if a press release says "demonstrated its committment to providing excellence in," it doesn't mean that kind of language should be dumped onto readers.


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Friday, March 5, 2010

A Phrase that Should Probably Never Appear in a Feature Article

resulted in

As in, "The exhibit resulted in a proclamation of 'that's awesome' from my kids."

Yes, that's based on a real excerpt from a real article. I resisted the temptation to hack the whole sentence to bits and just changed "resulted in" to "earned."

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There's a Word I Can't Remember -- And It's Driving Me Nuts

Early video games were text games. They would say something like, "You see a rabbit," then you would type something like "chase rabbit," "kill rabbit," etc.

Your answers to questions would take you down branches predetermined by the programmer. I can't, for the life of me, remember the name for the branching quality of these and later games.

Kind of driving me nuts.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's National Grammar Day!

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty and Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier author Bonnie Trenga, with, I think, an assist from Things that Make Us [Sic] author Martha Brockenbrough, have cooked up some fun stuff to promote grammar at

Yesterday, I learned, was Girls Day. I learned about it at a bookstore appearance by friend and author Naomi Hirahara, who was at Vroman's in Pasadena celebrating the release of her newest Mas Aria mystery, Blood Hina.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My New Pet Peeve

In a recent NPR segment, linguistic rock star Geoff Nunberg points out something I never noticed: people often apply the term "pet peeve" to things that are anything but "pets."

"Pet," in this usage, has traditionally implied something personal: "a tic or fancy that you nurture in your bosom and make your own." But, more often than not, the "pet peeves" people tell me about are more like mass peeves -- stuff like "irregardless" in place of "regardless."

That's a peeve all right. Just it's hard to call it any one person's pet.

I have a feeling that, from now on, every time I hear someone use "pet peeve" to describe a popular peeve ... oh, it's gonna peeve me.

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