Thursday, December 18, 2014. Last Update: Thu 1:20 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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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

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Your choice

Alternating between alternatives

Cities that have hard winters have no “alternative” and must repair roads in the summer. And when they do, they... 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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A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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