Saturday, December 20, 2014. Last Update: Fri 5:42 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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Worldly goods

Badly needed reminders

English teachers used to drill into students that they did not "feel good." They "felt well." It was the corollary... More

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Covetous

The difference between ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’

The pope gets to wear nice red shoes, and a friend said, "I'm really jealous of those!" But, technically, she... More

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Cardinal rules

A real ‘conclave’ is at hand

Betsy Wade was ecstatic. "At last!" she exclaimed. "For the next few weeks people will be using the word conclave... More

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Language Corner

Wether or not

A "bellwether" is an indication of what is to come ("Are rising home prices a bellwether for the economy?") or... More

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Its time

That ol’ apostrophe again

Of the many small errors that bedevil many writers--and enrage their teachers and editors--there is perhaps none so simple to... More

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Brand extension

Why trademarks should be honored

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City called for a ban on "Styrofoam" containers, saying in his State of the... More

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Martial arts

A black belt in spelling

When a society gets out of hand, a government can try to "marshal" its forces to settle things. But the... More

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Take too

It’s a matter of perspective

"It's going to rain, so take an umbrella," the weather forecaster says. "Shouldn't that be bring?" a correspondent writes. "I... More

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‘Scare’ tactics

Quotes around single words

It's Journalism 101: go out and talk to people, then write down what they say. If you can't quote it... More

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Little big, man

Small changes, big effects

Sometimes, it's the little things that count. Little things like whether to use "a" or "the," for example, or whether... More

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… And so on

Explaining explanatory abbreviations

Today, we’re going to talk about what symbols, abbreviations, etc., to use when, i.e., you want to give a list... More

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Our funny language

Puzzling English expressions

As we bid farewell to the holiday season (whatever you may celebrate), here are a few final presents to amuse... More

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Language Corner

Like you were

Using “like” as a conjunction can earn you dirty looks from some quarters. The example most often cited by anti-conjunctionists... More

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For word

Little word, big meaning

“For” is a handy word. As a preposition, it has many functions: Webster’s New World College Dictionary lists 20... More

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Signposts for unfamiliar territory

How to help your readers navigate new words and ideas

A journalist’s job is to deliver information. Sometimes, though, that information needs explanation or context to make it clear. Maybe... More

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Robbing ’hood

Words involving theft

Trying to teach journalists the finer points of law is nearly as hard as trying to teach them the finer... More

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Whine lovers

Complaining with a British accent

People do a lot of whining. Lately, though, many publications seem to be spelling the complainers (or their complaints) differently.... More

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Popularity contest

Words for the people

The article was discussing a survey on the popular view of marketers and politicians. “Both have a higher perception of... More

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Of storms and ships at sea

Let’s not take them personally

We have names. Our pets have names. And so do hurricanes and ships. But, unlike us and our pets, hurricanes... More

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What are the odds?

Dealing with percentages

Take this quiz: If one candidate has 46 percent of the likely voters, and the other has 48 percent, what’s... More

Hey millionaire tech bros: Have patience with the editorial process - Chris Hughes probably wanted to enable great journalism at first. Then the dust settled and before you know it, he’s shaking everything up again

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

Price hike at UC Berkeley’s journalism school - Governing body approves additional fee of $7,500 starting 2016

Will Denver really have a newspaper war? - As a billionaire floats reviving the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post might buckle its chin strap

FOIA reform dies while the press looked the other way - RIP Improvement Act of 2014


The traffic lure of outrage (Slate)

“I didn’t become a journalist to peddle indignation on Facebook. But it sells—the page views don’t lie.”

NBC news producer’s sons were in the besieged school in Peshawar (NBCnews.com)

“I remained silent and didn’t know what to say — I know how such attacks on schools usually end”

Hero mom calls into CSPAN to berate her arguing pundit sons (WaPo)

“This was not planned. She called in on the normal line.”

Dick Cheney doesn’t want to call it torture but the media doesn’t have to follow (Vox)

“People deserve to know that the American government (proudly!) did things that in any other context are called torture”

Bloggingheads

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

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