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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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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

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Language Corner

There, there

There are many ways to start articles and sentences. There is often a way to avoid beginning with the phrases... More

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However you want

Who’s on first?

A Florida correspondent writes: My boss is obsessed with Strunk & White, and so tells me that I can never... More

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Career advice

On the fast track to ‘careen’

Two accidents, two verbs: In New Jersey, “The car careened down the street and smashed into several parked cars before... More

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Forward-looking

Ways of telling the future

We have weather “forecasts,” budget “projections,” attempts at earthquake “predictions.” Most dictionaries say those are all synonyms for one another.... More

Why won’t journalists ask Bill Cosby the tough questions? - Sexual assault charges are hardly ever mentioned to the TV star

Knoxville’s alt-weekly wasn’t losing money. It got shut down anyway - Scripps pulls the plug on Metro Pulse in favor of an entertainment supplement for the local daily

Chuck Todd’s Obama book says more about the author than it does about the president - ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics

Beware labeling Pope Francis a liberal - Political boxes like liberal/conservative and evolutionist/creationist miss his real significance

The Virginian-Pilot produces a breakthrough investigation amid layoffs - Reporter John Holland discusses how the story came together, newsroom cutbacks, and colleagues who cover for each other


Which media outlets use ‘illegal immigrant’? (Fusion)

“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”

Jack Shafer on losing his job (Capital New York)

“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”

On outlets that continue to call unknown drone victims ‘militants’ (The Intercept)

“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”

UNITY’s convention is no more (All Digitocracy)

“The organization’s board of directors decided that UNITY will no longer host the quadrennial conferences for which it had become known”

Bloggingheads

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

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