There's perhaps no quicker way to confuse your readers than by the use of dangling or misplaced modifiers. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines a dangling modifier as a word or phrase "that appears from its position to modify an element of the sentence other than the one it was intended to … [Read more...] about Leaving Readers Dangling – and Confused
Archives for September 2018
In an issue (2/9/08) of his always entertaining and informative weekly ezine, World Wide Words, Michael Quinion replied to those who ask him about his day job. “Insofar as I have one,” he says, “it is as a freelance field worker for the Oxford English Dictionary, always on the watch for new or interesting words [and … [Read more...] about Strategic Incompetence? There’s a Word for It!
“One of the hardest notions for a human being to shake is that a language is something that is, when it is actually something always becoming.” ~ John McWhorter Among the English-speaking nations of the world, there’s been a long-standing debate about which of these nations uses our not-so-common language … [Read more...] about Watch Your Language!
His name was William Archibald Spooner and he was born in London in 1844. He became an Anglican priest and a noted scholar, affiliated for 60 years with Oxford University, where he held various leadership posts, and taught philosophy and history. Brilliant though he was, he most likely would have been long since … [Read more...] about Getting His Words Mixed!
This language of ours certainly isn’t easy! It’s been known to cause logophobia, defined as “an excessive fear of words.” For example, consider the following statements, each of which uses two words which are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings: 1) The bandage was wound around … [Read more...] about Logophobia – and Other Diseases!
Today, most people probably relate the word scoop to ice cream or sherbet. Given the fact that Americans consume more than one billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen delicacies a year, that’s understandable. However, the scoop we’re referring to is a media term that’s been around for more than a century. Over … [Read more...] about The Straight Scoop!
Just recently, I came across an old friend I haven’t had much to do with in recent years. On second thought, I’m not sure I can call someone I’ve never met a friend, even though the addiction or obsession we share makes him seem like one. His name is Gyles Brandreth. Born in England, he was educated at Oxford … [Read more...] about The Joy of Lex
If you proofread your written material yourself, or if you do some proofing for others, here are some of the more common errors to watch for: Poor grammar: Misusing its and it’s (latter always and only means it is or it has) I feel badly (should be bad) Where I’m at (delete at) Off of (delete of) … [Read more...] about The Proofreader’s Role