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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

Rescuing the Bailout

Which word best describes the government’s response to the financial crisis?

Politics, especially in the few weeks before an election, is full of semantics, but this year seems particularly fraught. Take... More

Mass Appeal

Or, rather, “hoi polloi” appeal

In most of her speeches, and in her debate last week with Joe Biden, Sarah Palin seems to be speaking... More

Getting To The Top

A proper use for “crescendo”

“Daring project reaches a crescendo,” read a headline in the Albany Times-Union the other day. It struck a chord. Anyone... More

Where Have All The Commas Gone?

The joys of the parenthetical comma

(Voice of police dispatcher): “Calling all cars! Calling all cars! Be on the lookout for escaped commas. Last seen after... More

Not Without Regard

Is “irregardless” a word?

One problem with having so many dictionaries available is that they often don’t agree—on definitions, spellings or even whether something... More

Judgment Day

Are the Gitmo trials more of a star chamber or a kangaroo court?

The military trials planned for prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have been referred to as occurring in “a star chamber”... More

But It’s Alright

Alright may not be all wrong

It’s never all right to use “alright,” right? Let’s discuss, already. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says it... More

Comma Suture

A little punctuation mark can hold things together, or rend them asunder

The selection of Senator Joe Biden to be Barack Obama’s running mate has revived the debate over a statement Biden... More

It’s Your Cull

Two different meanings for one little word

If you’re a poker player, when you “cull” the cards you have selected a bunch of good cards and arranged... More

When Loosing Is Winning

“Loosing” vs. “losing”

A lot of people seem to be loosing their minds lately, or at least their grips on their dictionaries. “Loosing... More

Richter Mortis

The decline and fall of the Richter scale

The recent earthquake in Southern California unearthed a reason to celebrate. Not because it wasn't the Big One, or even... More

Check Your Herring

“Mondegreen”? Did I hear you right?

Many language lovers’ favorite time is when a dictionary is updated, because they can see what new words make the... More

Absent Without Leave

Is it OK to use “absent” as a preposition?

John Cochran, a writer-editor for the federal government, writes: Here’s a construction I don’t like: ‘Absent some better way …... More

And Another Think

If you think you've heard all of the linguistic twists and turns, you've got another thing coming. Well, actually you've... More

It doesn’t add up - A science writer questions the conventional wisdom of US-born STEM workers

#Realtalk: Dear reader - For small sites, loyalty might be a better path to pageviews

Falling for internet hoaxes - Some people who share satire don’t realize they’re missing the punchline

Digital First plans layoffs (Updated) - High-level executives and high-profile digital projects targeted

Nobody’s that lucky’—except in Florida’s lottery? - Palm Beach Post ferrets out lottery fraud, prompts tightening of “meager” safeguards


The future of Facebook may not say ‘Facebook’

The future of the social network is apps—lots and lots of apps

Bitcoin creator ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ unmasked-again?

A linguistics analysis suggests that Nick Szabo, a well known name in cryptography circles, is the mysterious father of the digital currency

The Center for Public Integrity’s response to ABC News

“I urge you to go to your reporters and engage in serious self-examination”

The slaughter bench of history

How war has made the world safer and richer

New Jersey’s good government

Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin

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