Word Love

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens! You’re an adjective.

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens! You're an adjective. February 7, 2012 Word Love

We’ve blogged recently about a few noteworthy people who have achieved the status of human verb — an unlikely mix of sports stars and federal judges.  A slightly more common phenomenon (but still not one most of us will enjoy) is the adjective based on a person’s name — let’s call it adjectivization.  Most of [...]

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A wonderful visual representation of the absolute wrongness of saying “I could care less.”

A wonderful visual representation of the absolute wrongness of saying "I could care less."July 8, 2011 Word Love

Thank you! This illogical expression has frustrated me ever since I was a baby word nerd. From anunexpectedterror.

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Declaration of Independence: Beauty and brains

Declaration of Independence: Beauty and brainsJuly 5, 2011 Legalese

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are experiencing a painless reentry. And why not take some writing inspiration from the document whose signing we just celebrated? The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language.” (Stephen E. Lucas, Justifying America). That sounds [...]

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Friday’s philosophical question: can you "become" what you already have been?

Friday's philosophical question: can you "become" what you already have been?June 3, 2011 Legalese

Let me put that another way: if a woman is already working as a prostitute, can a pimp who recruits her be convicted of “pandering” (that’s legalese for “pimping”), which is committed when someone “induces, persuades or encourages another person to become a prostitute.” I posted about this issue when the California Supreme Court was poised [...]

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How do you spell Libyan dictator?

How do you spell Libyan dictator?March 23, 2011 Just funny

Apparently there are no wrong answers. This image from Wikipedia illustrates the many ways his name can be spelled in transliteration.   I love that the only thing everyone agrees on is that his first name starts with M and ends with r. (from Wikipedia via ilovecharts)

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Why "blog"? No, those aren’t the dreaded gratuitous quotation marks.

Why "blog"? No, those aren't the dreaded gratuitous quotation marks.March 18, 2011 News

And no, I don’t mean what can blogging do for you, emotionally, financially, existentially or otherwise. What I mean is: where does the word blog come from? As promised in yesterday’s Blog you and your momma, too post, here’s the etymology, according to the late, great William Safire: Blog is a shortening of Web log. [...]

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Blog you and your momma, too!

Blog you and your momma, too!March 16, 2011 Grammar

One of the (many) quirky quirks of English is that nouns tend to gradually morph into verbs, to the horror of many.  Johnson, the Economist’s fantastic language blog, has a great post about the verbification of the word blog — complete with graphs from Google’s wonderful Ngram Viewer, which pls clarify has raved about before.  In response to [...]

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I’m a non-sequitur, according to Above the Law

I'm a non-sequitur, according to Above the LawMarch 15, 2011 News

Many of you have long suspected it, and now it’s official: I am a non-sequitur. Yesterday’s pls clarify Blawg Review was included in Above the Law’s Non-sequiturs feature, which lists various blawg posts of interest. (Non-lawyers, ATL, as it’s known in the biz, is a wildly popular and irreverent law blog.) Here it is (second from end): I’m [...]

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You(‘)r(e)

You(')r(e)March 9, 2011 Grammar

  funny-pictures-uk

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Said is dead. Use these words instead!

Said is dead. Use these words instead!March 1, 2011 Legalese

Writers (that means you, lawyers), behold the many alternatives to the verb “said.” (They’re not quite synonyms, despite the title.)   Have fun with them. Be bold. And under no circumstances should you ever write, “The court said … .”

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