Saturday, December 20, 2014. Last Update: Fri 5:42 PM EST

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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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The Oxford English Dictionary adds words

Read up on the December updates

Four times a year, the venerable Oxford English Dictionary releases a list of words it has added, revised, or otherwise... More

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Understanding acronyms

But LOL is a bit of a mystery

A news columnist, Reg Henry, recently assailed what he called "the attack of the killer acronyms," which, he said, are... More

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The moon’s unusual names

It’s not all waxing and waning

The moon, like many children, goes through phases. And, just as children's phases have names ("terrible twos," puberty, etc. )... More

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How to use the colon

Understand its usage once and for all

The colon is one of the most versatile punctuation marks (and organs). We use it to mark time (he arrived... More

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The role of ‘in’ vs. ‘on’ for a popular phrase

You don’t know the behalf of it

Did you know that there's a difference between acting "on behalf of" something and "in behalf of" something? Didn't think... More

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Capitalize this

What the upper case means for the folk phrase: “If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”

If you read a historical document, like the Declaration of Independence, you'll notice the capitalization of lot of words we... More

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Getting to know a ‘monger’

The wares of this word are sometimes fish, and sometimes just smell

This week, many people may be worried about the "fear-mongering" around Ebola. Others may wonder which "rumor-mongering" politician to vote... More

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The history of ‘wrestle’

Getting to the root of the word

The football player "wrestled" the ball away from an opponent and scored a touchdown. Shareholders "wrestled" control of a company... More

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There are a lot of ways to misuse ‘hirsute’

Hairy vocabulary

We're going to make things a little "hairy" this week, in several senses of the word. "Hirsute" means "hairy," but... More

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How common descriptors fall out of favor

The ‘skunking’ of ‘Oriental’

Once upon a time, as far back as 40 years or so, language pedants would not use "hopefully" to mean... More

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Why you use your ‘logon’ to ‘log on’

It’s all about the adverbs

Time to start work. So you "log on" to your computer, using your "logon" or "log-on," or your user name.... More

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Beware journo-speak

Only journalists would call a tragedy a “mishap”

The public editor for The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, wrote a wonderful piece last month about how word selection... More

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Shakespeare didn’t say that

Lines that are (mis)attributed to the Bard

Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned, and, should Shakespeare be alive today, he might feel much scorn'd. People... More

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Fractured Shakespeare

All that glitters isn’t gilding

Much time has pas’t since Language Corner has revisited Shakespeare, or what passes for Shakespeare these days. A slight refresher... More

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A fancy word for ‘custom’

Bespoken for

An article labeled as news fawned last week over the new Jaguar XE, which was introduced in London in a... More

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How to properly use [sic]

Hint: Not often

Twitter, Facebook, email, and the like are great reporting tools, allowing reporters access to more sources, wider reporting, and more... More

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Very important alcohol vocabulary tips

Foment vs. ferment

"Both sides are just trying to ferment a war," a blog posting said of the situation in the Middle East.... More

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Hyphen use disappearing

Is the web to blame for quick changes to language?

Language evolution is happening right in plain sight. “Off-site” and “on-site” are in the process of becoming “offsite” and... More

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Fun with mnemonics

If you’ve been writing ‘pneumonic,’ you’ve got it all wrong

A friend wrote that she had a great way of remembering a complicated topic. "I created a pneumonic device," she... More

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Why words have multiple acceptable spellings

More on the new edition of Webster’s New World College Dictionary

Last week, we talked about the new, fifth edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary, and some things in it... More

Hey millionaire tech bros: Have patience with the editorial process - Chris Hughes probably wanted to enable great journalism at first. Then the dust settled and before you know it, he’s shaking everything up again

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

Price hike at UC Berkeley’s journalism school - Governing body approves additional fee of $7,500 starting 2016

Will Denver really have a newspaper war? - As a billionaire floats reviving the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post might buckle its chin strap

FOIA reform dies while the press looked the other way - RIP Improvement Act of 2014


The traffic lure of outrage (Slate)

“I didn’t become a journalist to peddle indignation on Facebook. But it sells—the page views don’t lie.”

NBC news producer’s sons were in the besieged school in Peshawar (NBCnews.com)

“I remained silent and didn’t know what to say — I know how such attacks on schools usually end”

Hero mom calls into CSPAN to berate her arguing pundit sons (WaPo)

“This was not planned. She called in on the normal line.”

Dick Cheney doesn’t want to call it torture but the media doesn’t have to follow (Vox)

“People deserve to know that the American government (proudly!) did things that in any other context are called torture”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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