Thursday, April 24, 2014. Last Update: Thu 11:00 AM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

lcdictionary.jpg

Sounds like…

All the ways we misspeak and write

For two weeks we highlighted phrases that are written from what people hear, sometimes with amusing results. A reader asked:... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Misbegottens

More twisted idioms

Last week, we talked about some idioms that have been twisted by people who write them as they hear them,... More

sexting.jpg

Righting speech

When people misspell while talking

Here's a shocker: People don't talk the way they write, or the way they should write. They have accents; they... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Weathering heights

Unusual terms for not-so-unusual phenomena

Had the Weather Channel been around in the 1930s, it's possible that the period of severe drought, crop failure, and... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Body parts

Spelling malpractice

At a recent concert in Milwaukee, John Mayer dedicated a song to his girlfriend, Katy Perry, for helping him get... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Either win(s)

Verbs to use with neither/either

Either I or they is playing tricks with your head. Last week, we said that it's OK to use "or"... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Language Corner

Orchestra pits

Bob Kamman writes that he's seen "orchestrated" or "carefully orchestrated" misused a lot. He quoted a New York Times article... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Neither regions

Using “nor” or not

Neither you nor I set the "rules" of English; we do it together, by using words in certain ways. But... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Small bites

Making big numbers more understandable

The wildfires are at it again: One near Colorado Springs was really big. How big? CNN said it was about... More

lcdictionary.jpg

New math

Keeping numbers simpler

Last week, we talked about how the words used to express numbers can help (or confuse) readers. Now, let's talk... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Countdown

Help with numbers

Math is hard for many people, though it's often not the numbers that cause so many problems, but the words... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Between ‘us’ and ‘I’

Getting stuck on plurals

The editors were discussing a story about the health benefits of a particular type of cactus, and maybe others. The... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Pleas-ing words

Prepositions and crime

One man "pleaded guilty to DWI." Another "pled guilty of DWI." A third "entered a plea of guilty to DWI... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Grammar police

Zealousness over correctness

The New York Times recently posted an opinion piece and a short film about a "vigilante copy editor" who was... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Letter perfect

Why English is so hard

The cashier at the fancy foods store was from Bosnia. "I have so much hard time with English," she said.... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Language Corner

Plum loco

The witness, according to the news story, said the robbers were "plum crazy." Not unless they were robbing a green... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Participial con-fusion

When possession is the law

WARNING: Grammar lesson ahead. If you ever knew what a "participle" was, you may have forgotten. Same with the word... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Natal gazing

Of birth, and being borne

"I don't know nothing about birthing babies!" Butterfly McQueen told Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind. Those who believe... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Writing tics

The optics of metrics

The mayor's op-ed piece urged action on a regional 911 system, which, among other things, would "provide consistent and transparent... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Blame excuses

Where to point the finger

"Deer Creek blames fire on science experiment," read one headline. "Arsonist blames fire on living conditions," said another. Some people... More

16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits - A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines

Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? - 5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl

The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop - Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift

The enduring pull of mag covers - Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?

Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers - The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies


Why Felix Salmon is joining Fusion

“The core of what I do at Fusion will be post-text”

The top spook’s stupid gag order

The nation’s top spy has prohibited all of his spies from talking with reporters about “intelligence-related information” unless officially authorized to speak

Slate wants you to subscribe

Andrew Sullivan on the new Slate+

Why liberals have fallen for Thomas Piketty

The French economist gives the American left a sturdy framework for its economic ideas

The greatest threat to women

Louis CK is nonplussed at how ladies do it

  • If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $19.95 (6 issues in all).
  • If not, simply write cancel on the bill and return it. You will owe nothing.

Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.