Monday, November 24, 2014. Last Update: Fri 2:45 PM EST

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grammar

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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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‘They’ said so

Pronouns without sex

Whenever anyone who loves language wants to start a robust discussion, they have only to mention “gender-neutral pronouns,” such as... More

@#?

How to quote e-mail, tweets, and such

BREAKING: Palm Beach Sheriffs Office tells @SusanCandiotti that the bomb squad is investigating a suspicious pkg near #Rush #Limbaugh home... 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

Appositive Negatives

Some things are not unique

Last week, we talked about setting a parenthetical description off with commas in the grammatical phenomenon known as an “appositive.”... More

Beggars Can Be Choosers

Questioning the questions

Every so often it’s important to revisit an issue, to clarify or modify it, depending on the circumstances. It “begs... More

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Bell curves

Lots of “ring” words

“You must be a ringer,” the journalism instructor told the student, who insisted that, though he had many years of... More

Call Me ‘Al’

Another confusing suffix

Is an appliance “electric” or “electrical”? Is Sarah Palin visiting “historic” sites or “historical” sites? Is being “politic” the same... More

Climate Change

Weathering a climax

An extension of a federal highway program passed the House recently, over the objections of some Democrats. “Even as they... 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

Conjunction-itis

What about ifs, ands, or buts?

Many generations of students have had certain grammar “truths” drilled into their little heads. One is the “myth” that infinitives... More

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Digging in

The etymology of a “clawback”

“Jamie Dimon: JPMorgan Will Likely Claw Back Pay From Responsible Executives,” the headline said. Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, was telling... More

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Empty pockets

A phrase with several meanings

Max Crittenden posted on Language Corner’s Facebook page: I’m seeing some peculiar usage (misuse, to my mind) of the phrase... More

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En-gendered

Terms for sexual identity

Dealing with gender identity these days is a tricky business. And while we prefer to use “sex” to describe biological... More

Failure to Launch

Adding “ing” makes a noun, or not

When the “launch” of the space shuttle Endeavor finally occurs, many “posts” will appear on blogs and news sites around... 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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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

Fraught Fest

Can something be ‘fraught’ without ‘with’?

Kirk Arnott, a retired assistant managing editor of the Columbus Dispatch who keeps his hand sharp with part-time copyediting there,... 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

Gonna Wanna

When dialects collide

Writing the way people speak is one way to make sure your copy doesn’t become bloviated or stodgy. But journalists... 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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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.