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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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What are the odds?

Dealing with percentages

Take this quiz: If one candidate has 46 percent of the likely voters, and the other has 48 percent, what’s... More

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Language Corner

There, there

There are many ways to start articles and sentences. There is often a way to avoid beginning with the phrases... More

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However you want

Who’s on first?

A Florida correspondent writes: My boss is obsessed with Strunk & White, and so tells me that I can never... More

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Career advice

On the fast track to ‘careen’

Two accidents, two verbs: In New Jersey, “The car careened down the street and smashed into several parked cars before... More

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Forward-looking

Ways of telling the future

We have weather “forecasts,” budget “projections,” attempts at earthquake “predictions.” Most dictionaries say those are all synonyms for one another.... More

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‘They’ said so

Pronouns without sex

Whenever anyone who loves language wants to start a robust discussion, they have only to mention “gender-neutral pronouns,” such as... More

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Apparently not

The trouble with the apparent heart attack

The American Heart Association says that heart attacks kill about 1,200 people in the United States every day. In many... More

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Prepositions: the last word

Something to not put up with?

The purpose of last week’s posting was to warn against accepting supposedly famous quotations just because they’re repeated frequently. But... More

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Put up or shut up

‘Famous’ quotes that aren’t

Your child’s grade school teacher has asked her to come up with some “famous quotations,” so, naturally, she goes right... More

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Swap mete

One word confused with another

Today, we’re going to list some words and phrases that are often used when another is meant. These are not... More

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Language Corner

Few grudges

“Grudge,” from an old German word meaning “lament,” is a lot of fun to say. The noun “grudge” means “hostility... More

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Multiples choice

Some singular help with plural possessives

Last week we dealt with some possessive questions when there were plural possessors. Now we’ll deal with other possessives, which... More

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Pluralistic

Those pesky possessives

Two of the longest sections in most grammar and style guides concern how to form plurals and how to form... More

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Lucky strike

Not all fortunes are good

As Evan Jenkins wrote here in 1997, “fortuitous,” strictly speaking, does not mean “lucky”; it means “by chance.” So when... More

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Language Corner

Author! Author!

People who write are “writers,” though many call themselves “authors,” especially if their products are books, or legislation. More and... More

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Shhh! It doesn’t matter

A “moot” discussion

The silence is deafening. All over the Internet and printed publications, people are making “mute points”: • A press release... More

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Bell curves

Lots of “ring” words

“You must be a ringer,” the journalism instructor told the student, who insisted that, though he had many years of... More

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Memorializing

What to call those piles of flowers

Bob Kamman, a regular correspondent, writes: When unexpected deaths occur that are newsworthy, what often happens is that people leave... More

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En-gendered

Terms for sexual identity

Dealing with gender identity these days is a tricky business. And while we prefer to use “sex” to describe biological... More

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Sentimental journey

Evaluating a ‘journeyman’

The article’s headline promised a story “on the life of a journeyman musician.” It discussed a man who has been... More

Why Obama’s statement on reporters’ arrests in Ferguson is hypocritical - The president defends reporters in Ferguson, but demands compliance from James Risen

Apple can’t hide from a 20-year-old reporter - The University of Michigan student gets behind the tech titan’s newest products

Finding James Foley - This 2013 story takes a look at GlobalPost’s search for the photojournalist

Gannett cribs from Advance Publications playbook for struggling newspapers - Staff compete for fewer jobs; ‘readers become the assignment editor’

First Look runs headlong into journalism’s two big problems - Growing pains at the Omidyar/Greenwald venture


The McDonald’s in Ferguson (LAT)

“Lately, the restaurant has taken on the appearance of a battered frontier outpost”

Tour guide wars at a Paris cemetery (WSJ)

“Because dead men tell no tales, visitors to Père Lachaise cemetery lend their ears to Bertrand Beyern”

Last call (Medium)

“The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic. If that’s you, it’s time to learn something outside the production routine of your current job.”

Maureen Dowd on James Risen (NYT)

“Risen may be trapped in Ibsen, but Obama is channeling Orwell”

Bloggingheads

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

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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.