Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Last Update: Tue 3:35 PM EST

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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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That tricky ‘e’

Making verbs out of nouns

We have occasionally invoked Tom Lehrer when discussing how the simple letter "e" can change the meaning of many words,... More

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Spellbound

Grammatically incorrect pop culture

In between National Grammar Day and the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society, let us lament that "popular... More

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What’s mine is yours

Joint possession

Happy National Grammar Day! The silence in the place of cheers is deafening. Grammar is a boring, regimented set of... More

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Language Corner

Naming rights

What do you call a revue of dancing soldiers? A "troupe" of "troops," of course. That was kind of a... More

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Wrong turns

Keeping readers off the “garden path”

Sentences have destinations, the place you want your readers to go to absorb the information you're delivering. Most are simple:... More

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Like-minded

A message gone awry

"Do your homework," a parent might say to a child, "or you won't get into Harvard." A typical response might... More

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Wishful thinking

On using the subjunctive

Many people make New Year's resolutions to start diets, saying, "I wish I were thinner." Six weeks later, many are... More

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Word choice and reader knowledge

Journalists should write with vocabulary most readers possess

We use words because they articulate what we want or need to say (we hope). But how do you know... More

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Since when?

Using a substitute for ‘because’

Since teaching grammar to children is so challenging, teachers often resort to "rules," using memory tricks to hammer them home.... More

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Through the wringer

Squeezing the meaning from “eke”

Sometimes, a photo "ekes out of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out extra mileage" in cars. And... More

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Made up

Fictional, fictitious, fictive, and factitious

"Fiction," we all know, is something that is not true. So is "a lie." But they're not quite synonyms: Fiction... More

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Hamming it up

Too many ‘bad actors’

When it gets cold and wintry, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "alongside acts of goodwill and kindness, a... More

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Language Corner

Naming rights

The New York Times recently added an entry to its eponymous stylebook, available only online: "In precise, traditional usage, an... More

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Tweaking ‘twerk’

Word of the Year lists

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Time for all the familiar clichés, misused or mispunctuated tho' they may... More

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Losing prepositions

When the little words get out of hand

"People hustle their way at the avenue, as the majority crossed onto the other side. Yellow-shirted men on navy blue... More

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Cast away

Do you live ‘on’ or ‘in’ an island?

Prepositions are funny things. Most of them are short words, but they can alter the meaning of a phrase or... More

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Paddle ball

Making a “racket” over “racquet”

Many people are hoping to get new tennis "rackets" this holiday season. But many people who play "racquetball" are hoping... More

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Acts of piracy

The history of ‘filibuster’

During Wendy Davis' "filibuster" of the Texas Senate in May, seeking to block a bill to limit abortions, Gov. Rick... More

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Fighting words

Libel, slander, and defamation

Last week, we promised that you were liable to be surprised by the differences between "libel," "slander," and "defamation." We... More

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Taking responsibility

Some uses of “liable” are likely to be questioned

A friend was handicapping the Academy Award nominations, though they're still months away. "Sandra Bullock is liable to win best... More

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

Gawker’s so-far successful experiment in making office chats public - Are group chat rooms a waste of time or essential to running a modern newsroom?

A new course in video games journalism - As an art form grows up, can the critics keep pace?

On the NSA, a White House credibility problem - The AP report on the destruction of The Guardian’s hard drives is just the latest evidence that reporters can’t trust the Obama administration on spying claims

Long all-volunteer, Guernica Mag looks toward paying its contributors - The 10-year-old online mag hired its first full-time employee and is launching a second Kickstarter


39 pieces of advice for journalists and writers of color (BuzzFeed)

“Make yourself indispensable. Dispel any rumors, however quiet, that you are just there for a ‘quota’”

In the digital sphere, ‘magazine’ = money (Digiday)

“A single page in a glossy magazine could be discounted by more than half its open rate and still get an effective CPM of about $70. Online display ad CPMs average under $3”

9 decades of The New Yorker (New Yorker)

With the relaunch comes the archive

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.