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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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‘Civil’ versus ‘sectarian’ conflicts

How to pick the most accurate war word

Iraq is now faced with an escalation of "sectarian violence," and Syria is still ensnared in its "civil war." Those... More

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Accentuate the positive

When to use diacritics

English has no accents, formally known as diacritical marks, or diacritics. But many words that arrived from other languages do... More

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Words associated with weddings

Inspiration hat-tip to Kim and Kanye

The recent wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West presents an opportunity to discuss the snarky "announcement" that ran in... More

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Squirreling away the eggcorns

A collection of misleading phrases

We've discussed "eggcorns," phrases so tantalizingly close to idioms or common expressions that they actually make some sense, twisted though... More

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Finishing school

Words associated with graduation

It's graduation season, a good time to look at some of the words and ceremonies associated with this rite of... More

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Effusive suffixes

Adding -age to a word may sound fancy, but it’s usually unnecessary

A marketing website offered a course called "Storytelling Through Reportage Video Production." "Reportage is defined as the act of reporting... More

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Avoid ‘venue’ and ‘facility’

When naming buildings in a story, specificity is key

In the 1964 printing of Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, "facility" has four definitions, only... More

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Language Corner

Unbalanced

Not only does grammar like order, it likes balance. And that first sentence is unbalanced. Just as either needs or,... More

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Famous lost words

Misplaced phrases or modifiers

Word people love to have fun with misplaced modifiers. The most recognized of these are dangling participles, where a phrase... More

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Ker-choo!

To catch a sneeze

In honor of allergy season, here's a riddle: What word's first syllable is pronounced differently than the way it is... More

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Pretentious, or quaint?

Amongst, amidst, whilst

The headline on a recent article in a Tennessee newspaper said the local teachers were "among best-paid" in the state.... More

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Wal-Mart. Walmart. wal*mart.

The company is inconsistent, but the AP isn’t

One style change the Associated Press has made recently is to decide that the giant discount chain based in Bentonville,... More

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Closer than it appears

Farther vs. further

Now that The Associated Press has dropped the distinction between "over" and "more than" for quantities, perhaps it's time to... More

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So over it

The reaction to a rule change

Far too much has already been written about The Associated Press's announcement last week that it would begin allowing the... More

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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

Stop trolling your readers - We know you’re only doing it for clicks

Des Moines Register prepares for a ‘very stressful’ newsroom restructuring - Editor Amalie Nash speaks on turnover, transformation, and a virtual reality adventure

PBS pulls ads from Harper’s Magazine after critical essay - Piece argues public broadcaster has fallen under the sway of political influence and outside money

Should all journalists be on Twitter? - Reasons to take up or forgo the 140-character platform

The Tennessean is borrowing reporters from other Gannett papers - Music columnist Peter Cooper is latest journalist to part ways with Nashville paper


Fake news sites using Facebook to spread Ebola panic (The Verge)

“These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor”

How Ben Bradlee dealt with flacks (Washington Post)

“I would like to be sure that you understand that we trust our editors’ news judgement and that we distrust yours”

Ben Bradlee, 93 (WaPo)

“From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily”

I’m a black journalist quitting media because I’m sick of racism (TNR)

“Among the challenges that make racism so difficult to fix, and so odiously constant, is that white people often don’t even recognize when they’re saying or doing something that cuts their black colleagues to the bone”

Bloggingheads

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

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The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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Questions and exercises for journalism students.