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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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Is it now-defunct or now defunct?

Examining whether or not you should use a hyphen for this journalism mannerism

The new general manager of the New York Jets "was a league scout in the American offices of the now-defunct... More

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The history of ‘nightmare’

The ‘mare’ has many meanings

People awakening from a "nightmare" often have the sensation that they can't breathe. Not surprising: That's where the word "nightmare"... More

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A glut of spates and slews

The New York Times might want to invest in a thesaurus

In just a week, The New York Times discussed how "Indonesia has seen a spate of deadly attacks by Muslim... More

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Why is ‘burgeoning’ used in so many news articles?

It’s a word rarely said aloud

Would you tell a friend something like, "I'd really like to get into the burgeoning pot business"? Probably not, we'd... More

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Entree, entry, or entrée?

If you’re going to use it, say it right

Pronunciation sometimes makes the word. If someone has taken a bit part in a movie, one might say she got... More

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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

Virginian-Pilot journalists: Corporate management pressure is stifling coverage - “Lovers of journalism in this newsroom are pissed. It’s bad.”

The worst journalism of 2014 - A recap of the year’s most cringeworthy news blunders

Why the media don’t get Detroit—and why it matters - Coverage of declining cities is too often simplistic and lacking historical context

21st-century censorship - Governments around the world are using stealthy strategies to manipulate the media

Jesse Brown punctures Canada’s media bubble - The independent journalist uses his website and podcast to break stories that might otherwise go unpublished


We should all step back from security journalism (Medium)

“It should be made clear, in law, that the tasks security reseachers do to make the net more secure and journalists do to understand and contextualize the truth for the public are not crimes”

Trust In Business And Media Is Declining, But People Have Faith In Search Engines (Buzzfeed)

People have become less trusting of major institutions, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer. And large majorities doubt that businesses want to make the world a better place.

With New Charlie Hebdo Cover, News Value Should Have Prevailed (NYT)

Public editor Margaret Sullivan on why the paper should have published the images.

An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media (Medium)

“I feel the need to offer my perspective as someone who is not a teenager but who has thought about these issues extensively for years.”

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.