English is a glorious syncretic mess of a language, what you get when you blend together a bunch of mispronounced German, French and Latin words and then salt with the vernacular of a hundred other languages, without having to heed stern pronouncements from an official language academy.
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Students from Pratt High School in Kansas didn't get their "first hand job experience" as reported, but they -- and a headline writer at The Pratt Tribune --did get a lesson in grammar. On Saturday, the local newspaper printed an inappropriate, though hilarious, headline for an otherwise benign article about Disability Mentoring Day. The hyphen-less headline was completely rewritten for the online version of the story.
image via Tigerfan56
Thanks, Tim! Read the rest
Agent X and Agent Full Stop are a pair of graffiti activists who call themselves Acción Ortográfica Quito: they sneak around the streets of Quito, Ecuador with cans of red spray-paint, correcting the punctuation, grammar and spelling of the city's prolific graffiti writers, bringing legibility to boasts, professions of love, and political messages. Read the rest
The case against grammar snobbery laid out by British data journalist Mona Chalabi. Read the rest
I don't know enough about grammar to be able to tell if this Sentence Tree is accurate or not. Read the rest
On Saturday, the Associated Press announced that in the 2016 edition of their widely-used AP Stylebook guide to English grammar and usage, the words "internet" and "web" will no longer be capitalized.
"The changes reflect a growing trend toward lowercasing both words, which have become generic terms," AP Standards Editor Thomas Kent told Poynter.
Please note that Boing Boing will continue to capitalize Information Superhighway. Read the rest
In his latest book, The Sense of Style, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker sets out to create a new English stylebook that celebrates the language's fluidity while still striving for clarity -- an anti-authoritarian, "evidence-based" manifesto for clear and vivid communications. Read the rest
Grammar: It's boring to talk about, unless you're that type of person. Which personally I am, though I recognize that the eyes of most normal humans glaze over like donuts at the very first mention of "tenses." Yet I implore you to push through that resistance and read this "interactive guide to ambiguous grammar" by Vijith Assar anyway. It goes somewhere genuinely important, so stick with it. Read the rest
At first I was adverse to posting this fulsome list of 58 commonly misused words and phrases, due to its sheer enormity, but I decided to proscribe it anyway because it is pretty bemusing. They are from Harvard linguist Steven Pinker's book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
Adverse means detrimental and does not mean averse or disinclined.
Fulsome means unctuous or excessively or insincerely complimentary and does not mean full or copious.
Enormity means extreme evil and does not mean enormousness. [Note: It is acceptable to use it to mean a deplorable enormousness.]
Proscribe means to condemn, to forbid and does not mean to prescribe, to recommend, to direct.
Bemused means bewildered and does not mean amused.
Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases Read the rest
Two years ago today, Jonathan “Song A Day” Mann published this song. It's as timely as ever.
It's been 50 years since Congress passed 18USC§924, but it still remains an enigmatic, insane hairball of unparseable subordinate clauses and impossible twists and turns. Read the rest
Bryan "Griaffedata" Henderson is on a mission to change every instance of "comprised of" to "composed of" or "consists of" -- and he's written a manifesto on the subject. Read the rest
I lived in Birmingham, Ala., for two years right out of college. While I was there, I became convinced that y'all is a reasonable and necessary word — a simple form of the plural "you" for a language that has no vosotros. Don't like "y'all" on principle? That's okay. There's a large diversity of grammatically-awkward-but-conversationally-necessary plural yous for English — a fact which makes me even more convinced that I'm right. Sometimes, y'all need a y'all. (Via mental_floss — ironically, the reason I was in Birmingham, to begin with — and Matthew Francis) Read the rest