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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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Language Corner

Nuclear attainment

An editorial discussed Iran's "determined program to attain nuclear-weapons capacity." Later, it cited pressure on Iran "to halt its aggressive... More

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Sincere-ly yours

Hyphenating (some) adverbs

The "rules" under which hyphens are used to connect multiple modifiers, like "well(-)known man," are varied and difficult to remember.... More

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Exit lines

Many ways to describe death

When people die, the words used to describe their passing vary greatly, often depending on how close the writer was... More

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Bizarro world

Opposite idioms

In recent weeks, we talked about idioms that are misheard, and thus miswritten. Now, we'll discuss some idioms that say... More

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Sounds like…

All the ways we misspeak and write

For two weeks we highlighted phrases that are written from what people hear, sometimes with amusing results. A reader asked:... More

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Misbegottens

More twisted idioms

Last week, we talked about some idioms that have been twisted by people who write them as they hear them,... More

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Righting speech

When people misspell while talking

Here's a shocker: People don't talk the way they write, or the way they should write. They have accents; they... More

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Weathering heights

Unusual terms for not-so-unusual phenomena

Had the Weather Channel been around in the 1930s, it's possible that the period of severe drought, crop failure, and... More

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Body parts

Spelling malpractice

At a recent concert in Milwaukee, John Mayer dedicated a song to his girlfriend, Katy Perry, for helping him get... More

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Either win(s)

Verbs to use with neither/either

Either I or they is playing tricks with your head. Last week, we said that it's OK to use "or"... More

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Language Corner

Orchestra pits

Bob Kamman writes that he's seen "orchestrated" or "carefully orchestrated" misused a lot. He quoted a New York Times article... More

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Neither regions

Using “nor” or not

Neither you nor I set the "rules" of English; we do it together, by using words in certain ways. But... More

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Small bites

Making big numbers more understandable

The wildfires are at it again: One near Colorado Springs was really big. How big? CNN said it was about... More

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New math

Keeping numbers simpler

Last week, we talked about how the words used to express numbers can help (or confuse) readers. Now, let's talk... More

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Countdown

Help with numbers

Math is hard for many people, though it's often not the numbers that cause so many problems, but the words... More

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Between ‘us’ and ‘I’

Getting stuck on plurals

The editors were discussing a story about the health benefits of a particular type of cactus, and maybe others. The... More

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Pleas-ing words

Prepositions and crime

One man "pleaded guilty to DWI." Another "pled guilty of DWI." A third "entered a plea of guilty to DWI... More

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Grammar police

Zealousness over correctness

The New York Times recently posted an opinion piece and a short film about a "vigilante copy editor" who was... More

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Letter perfect

Why English is so hard

The cashier at the fancy foods store was from Bosnia. "I have so much hard time with English," she said.... More

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Language Corner

Plum loco

The witness, according to the news story, said the robbers were "plum crazy." Not unless they were robbing a green... More

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

Paper files public records request—and city’s response is a lawsuit - Local officials argue Montana courts should strike balance between privacy and disclosure

BBC Pop-Up reports from small town America - A small team is traveling across the United States for six months in hopes of finding underreported local stories

What game design can do for journalism - Three newly selected fellows at American University talk about the medium’s future

Timeline, an app based on ‘the history of…’ - But chronology doesn’t reveal everything


Photojournalism while pregnant (NYT Mag)

“Momentarily forgetting I was pregnant, I jockeyed for a position close enough to capture the initial moments of euphoria, hurling myself into the mix of hundreds of frenzied relatives. As the weight of men started to close in on me, I realized how vulnerable I was and started to panic.”

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.

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.