Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Last Update: Wed 3:22 PM EST

Language Corner

Cardinal Sins

First or middle name?

In ceremonies filled with pomp, twenty-two men were named cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, including two from the United... More

Silent Knight

What a difference a letter makes

For The Electric Company, Tom Lehrer wrote a song to which all writers should listen: Who can turn a can... More

Addressee Unknown

Another comma goes AWOL

The Super Bowl is over, thank heavens, so all those incorrectly punctuated signs rooting for one team or another can... More

Houses of Straw

Flimsy votes and arguments

Though we’re thick in the primary and caucus season, the testing of the political winds actually began months ago, with... More

The Jury is in

On “jury-rigged” and “jerry-built” confusion

An article about a rundown neighborhood said that “most of the buildings are jerry-rigged structures of corrugated aluminum.” Another article... More

Confidence Trick

Scams ‘R’ Us

In an episode of Dragnet from the late nineteen-sixties, Joe Friday is assigned to the “bunco squad,” where he and... More

Intoxicating

Deriving ‘drink’

No one needs to be told that the present tense of the verb “to drink” is “drink.” But what about... More

And the Word of the Year Is…

Words that topped the lists

Lots of people and organizations have issued their “words of the year” lists. Whether some of the words they chose... More

Language, Free

Blogs for grammar geeks

In Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle makes lots of friends—and money for Macy’s—by sending customers elsewhere when Macy’s did... More

Yule Love This

Making a list of holiday expressions

A couple of years ago we discussed some of abuse that poor, misused apostrophes suffer this time of year, in... More

Homegrown

The living language

To look back at the early years of the Columbia Journalism Review is to look at how we used... More

On, Dasher!

A punctuation mark loved too much—or not enough

Many punctuation marks have different uses—think of the comma—but only a few leap off the page to a reader’s eye—as... More

Friendly Fire

Insulting without meaning to

As language and society evolve, words that were once considered merely slang sometimes take on an offensive odor. In the... More

Separation Anxiety

Smoothing comparative phrases

Black Friday is coming! And this one will be as big as, if not more hyped and crowded than, Cyber... More

Taking the Fifth

A dictionary, updated, adds and subtracts

The Fifth Edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is out, cause for celebration for some and... More

It doesn’t add up - A science writer questions the conventional wisdom of US-born STEM workers

#Realtalk: Dear reader - For small sites, loyalty might be a better path to pageviews

Falling for internet hoaxes - Some people who share satire don’t realize they’re missing the punchline

Digital First plans layoffs (Updated) - High-level executives and high-profile digital projects targeted

Nobody’s that lucky’—except in Florida’s lottery? - Palm Beach Post ferrets out lottery fraud, prompts tightening of “meager” safeguards


The slaughter bench of history

How war has made the world safer and richer

How burrowing owls lead to vomiting anarchists

Or SF’s housing crisis explained

Jill Abramson on tattoos, Anita Hill, Nate Silver

“I’m very sorry, but The New York Times is always the prettiest girl at the party”

Bend it, charge it, dunk it

Graphene, the material of tomorrow

New Jersey’s good government

Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin

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