Friday, July 25, 2014. Last Update: Fri 5:17 PM EST

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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Season openers

Baseball terms and myths

Major league baseball season gets under way this week, so let's throw out the first ball, left-handed. That's called "southpaw."... More

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Unpalatable

A plateful of similar words

The artists were being praised for their technique in which, the article said, they "use only pallet knives, not brushes."... More

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Worldly goods

Badly needed reminders

English teachers used to drill into students that they did not "feel good." They "felt well." It was the corollary... More

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Covetous

The difference between ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’

The pope gets to wear nice red shoes, and a friend said, "I'm really jealous of those!" But, technically, she... More

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Cardinal rules

A real ‘conclave’ is at hand

Betsy Wade was ecstatic. "At last!" she exclaimed. "For the next few weeks people will be using the word conclave... More

How Forbes got to $475 million - That’s what a Hong Kong investor has agreed to pay for a firm that two years ago had trouble paying its rent

Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview? - Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing

How to check if that viral video is true - Journalists don’t always verify user-generated content, so readers need to learn how to verify what they see online

The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble - A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan

Brick by brick - After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination


The White House deploys minders to interviews all the time (WaPo)

“Almost every officially sanctioned exchange between reporters and the proverbial ‘senior administration officials’ is conducted in the presence of a press staffer”

The down-and-dirty history of TMZ (BuzzFeed)

“TMZ’s real engine — what defines its mission, what legitimizes it and sets it apart — is a unique and controversial mix of scandal mongering and investigative journalism”

The 10 worst New Yorker longreads (Gawker)

“[A]pparently [Adam] Gopnik did not know you could bake fancy breads from France and other cultures. So he got his mom to teach him how to bake them. A fine anecdote, maybe, to tell a friend or a therapist. But in this case he wrote about it for the New Yorker, a magazine.”

Bloggingheads

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

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A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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