Headline fail: Kansas students get 'first hand job experience'

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

Graffiti grammar cops prowl the night, spraypainting corrections

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

Why you shouldn't be a grammar snob

The case against grammar snobbery laid out by British data journalist Mona Chalabi. Read the rest

Website visualizes grammatical structure of any sentence

I don't know enough about grammar to be able to tell if this Sentence Tree is accurate or not. Read the rest

Associated Press Style: No more capitalizing internet and web

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

Steven Pinker's list of the 58 most-abused English words and phrases

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

This 'guide to ambiguous grammar' is unexpectedly disturbing

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

Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases

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

The “There Their and They're” Song, by Jonathan Mann

Two years ago today, Jonathan “Song A Day” Mann published this song. It's as timely as ever.

Court has to a law's diagram tortured sentence structure in order to rule

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

Wikipedian corrects 15,000+ instances of "comprised of"

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

Y'all shouldn't feel bad about using "y'all"

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