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Users that often use this tag:
nangar (3)
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An ornithologist, an editor, & a VP walk into a conference room...

"We ornithologists, with our Important Capitals, continue to look Curiously Provincial" : copy-editors and ornithologists fight a very pilkunnussija-esque war over conventions of bird names.
posted by divabat on Jul 12, 2014 - 15 comments

Fear and Loathing of the English Passive

Geoffrey Pullum talks about the passive voice [pdf]. (via) [more inside]
posted by nangar on Jul 10, 2014 - 37 comments

Automatic Supercut Script

Videogrep is a python script that searches through dialog in videos and then cuts together a new video based on what it finds. Basically, it’s a command-line “supercut” generator. The code is on github
posted by The Whelk on Jun 20, 2014 - 15 comments

You won't believe what happened next. Because you lack faith.

Life Sentences: The Grammar of Clickbait
posted by oceanjesse on Apr 21, 2014 - 21 comments

(you) | Call | Me \ Ishmael

The first sentences of notable novels. Diagrammed. From Pop Chart Lab (previously).
posted by davidjmcgee on Feb 26, 2014 - 50 comments

You're reading this because procrastination.

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
posted by scody on Nov 19, 2013 - 163 comments

He is not literally a piece of excrement.

WWE wrestler CM Punk wants to help you improve your grammar. Some language NSFW.
posted by Shepherd on Aug 9, 2013 - 39 comments

"We use semicolons every day."

;
posted by Fizz on May 30, 2013 - 43 comments

International Art English

"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 26, 2013 - 45 comments

Literally?

"10 Words You Literally Didn’t Know You Were Getting Wrong" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 19, 2012 - 154 comments

Enough with the ad homonyms

Literacy Privilege: How I Learned to Check Mine Instead of Making Fun of People’s Grammar on the Internet. Also Part 2 and Part 3.
posted by divabat on Dec 12, 2012 - 130 comments

Interrobang!

13 obscure punctuation marks that we should be using...
posted by Renoroc on Oct 11, 2012 - 113 comments

A sea of words

Six years ago, New Dorp High School on Staten Island, NY, had a 40% dropout rate, and more than 80% of freshmen were reading below grade level. In spring 2013, the school expects an 80% graduation rate. What happened? New Dorp decided to teach its students how to write. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Sep 30, 2012 - 83 comments

"With respect to an equivalence defined by (some feature)"

The Award For Nerdiest Preposition Goes To ... [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 10, 2012 - 116 comments

His tooth was pulling out

...it's true that the progressive passive first appeared in the English language in the second half of the 18th century, replacing what historians of English grammar call the passival.
via Slate
posted by ancillary on Jun 3, 2012 - 18 comments

We're watching your comments for correct comma usage.

"Who knew people were so interested in commas?" Ben Yagoda has written three NYT pieces on correct comma usage: Fanfare for the Comma Man, The Most Comma Mistakes, and Some Comma Questions.
posted by hypotheticole on May 26, 2012 - 62 comments

With eyes wide open and the mind relaxed but attentive

O dear Miss Mutch, put down your crutch,
And leave us to crack a bottle.

A guy like I weren't meant to die
On the grave of Aristotle.

O leave us dance on the dead romance
Of the small but clear footnote.

The infinitive with my fresh-honed shiv
I will split from heel to throat.
(h/t languagehat).
posted by Diablevert on Apr 30, 2012 - 19 comments

mistakes were not made

Passive Voice Day 2012: "It has again been decided that April 27th will be passive voice day. Fun will be had by everybody as the passive voice is used for tweets, blogs, and casual conversation." (2011) Language Log offers kudos to a well-crafted passive announcement and provides further reading on confusion over avoiding the passive (includes a list of links to Language Log posts on the passive).
posted by flex on Apr 26, 2012 - 64 comments

That week-old hot dog is nauseous.

20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Gets Wrong
posted by dunkadunc on Jan 31, 2012 - 182 comments

My Word

The Corpus of American Historical English is a searchable index of word usage in American printed material from 1810 to 2009. Powerful complex searches allow you to trace the appearance and evolution of words and phrases and even specific grammatical constructions, see trends in frequency, and plenty more. Start with the 5-Minute Tour.
posted by Miko on Jan 7, 2012 - 23 comments

Phenomenology of Error

It has long been noted that style manuals and other usage advice frequently contain unintended examples of the usage they condemn. (This is sometimes referred to as Hartman's law or Muphry's law - an intentional misspelling of Murphy.) Starting from this observation, Joseph Williams' paper The Phenomenology of Error offers an examination of our selective attention to different types of grammatical and usage errors that goes beyond the descriptivism-prescriptivism debate. (alternate pdf link for "The Phenomenology of Error") [more inside]
posted by nangar on Nov 28, 2011 - 17 comments

"The next time you hear a bird chirping outside your window, you might think twice about what’s going on inside his little birdbrain."

Are birds’ tweets grammatical? [Scientific American] But are the rules of grammar unique to human language? Perhaps not, according to a recent study, which showed that songbirds may also communicate using a sophisticated grammar—a feature absent in even our closest relatives, the nonhuman primates. Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe of Kyoto University performed a series of experiments to determine whether Bengalese finches expect the notes of their tunes to follow a certain order.
posted by Fizz on Nov 3, 2011 - 31 comments

The Fruit of Dionysuis Thrax

Best Grammar Blog of 2011 has been announced - A Clil To Climb. The competition was intense.
posted by unliteral on Oct 25, 2011 - 23 comments

(The) Kindle

The Kindle is changing its name to ... Kindle. W(T)F?
posted by anothermug on Sep 13, 2011 - 160 comments

Challenging Chompsky

In the late Sixties and early Seventies several experiments were begun to test whether or not a non-human primate could construct a sentence. Several species were involved in these various experiments including the chimpanzees Washoe and Nim, a gorilla named Koko, and later in the Eighties work began with a bonobo named Kanzi. While great progress was made in teaching these primates a vocabulary, it would be difficult to see any of these experiments as a success. And all of these projects raised important questions about the ethics of such experiments. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Aug 20, 2011 - 39 comments

Norms and Peeves

Language Log lists all their previous articles about prescriptivism vs. descriptivism (or at least a lot of them), plus a link to Geoffrey Pullum's Ideology, Power, and Linguistic Theory [pdf].
posted by nangar on May 16, 2011 - 29 comments

Direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.

The "King of English", H.W. Fowler wrote A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Although "modern linguists are almost by definition incapable of understanding the function of a book like Fowler’s Dictionary", the "half-educated Englishman of literary proclivities" who just wants to know: "Can I say so-&-so?’" may now buy the classic first edition of the Dictionary again. An earlier book, The King's English, is free for anyone seeking advice on Americanisms, Saxon words, the spot plague, archaism or split infinitives.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Mar 3, 2011 - 27 comments

national punctuation day

did you know its national punctuation day again
posted by Avenger50 on Sep 24, 2010 - 58 comments

Dead languages

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself.
posted by caddis on Sep 24, 2010 - 147 comments

Motivated Grammar

I’m not advocating the abolition of grammar, but rather its justification. I’m not quite sure what that will entail in the end, but I’m starting out by pointing out grammar rules that just don’t make sense, don’t work, or don’t have any justification. All I want is for our rules of grammar to be well-motivated.
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 10, 2010 - 90 comments

Glitz, Glamor, Gams, and Grammar

"When I was in New York, I fell in love with some wild ideas in the shape of a woman. An English teacher, who was hard, but hard like a job I never wanted to end. But to her, I wasn't nothin' but a day at the office. That's what they call a Double Negative."
posted by redsparkler on Aug 3, 2010 - 34 comments

That's not me. That's Balzac.

In order to master the correct usage of lie and lay, David Friedman tracked every use and mis-use of the two in the series Mad Men.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! on Aug 3, 2010 - 26 comments

Its their principal pet peeve

Learn Your Damn Homophones
posted by silby on Jul 28, 2010 - 153 comments

Explicit writings you should not read at work or anywhere else you can could into trouble for reading extremely explicit blog posts

Not Safe For Work writings by Chelesa G. Summers are below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 22, 2010 - 11 comments

The Social Psychology of Linguistic Naming and Shaming.

Although people have been worried about correct speech for thousands of years, it's apparently the status anxieties of modern societies that create the market for usage advice in which artificial "rules" can spring up and spread, independent of the genuine norms of speaking and writing. [via]
posted by rebent on Jun 18, 2010 - 78 comments

Open Source Language Checking Technology

After The Deadline is an open source spell/style/grammar checker from Automattic for WordPress, Firefox and other stuff. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on May 3, 2010 - 28 comments

Are you happy to see me or is that just a dictionary in your pocket?

In search of the world’s hardest language
posted by Gyan on Jan 3, 2010 - 148 comments

Na'vi

Paul Frommer explains the Na'vi language he created for Avatar
posted by Dumsnill on Dec 19, 2009 - 51 comments

Make Your Own Academic Sentence

Pootwattle the Virtual Academic(TM) says: The conceptual logic of millennial hedonism is often found in juxtaposition with, if not in direct opposition to, the sublimation of difference. [more inside]
posted by caddis on Nov 20, 2009 - 12 comments

Do not use "nonprofit" as an adjective. Use "broke."

Fake AP Stylebook is making Twitter worthwhile. (Single-link Twitter post. But damn, really; it's funny).
posted by emjaybee on Oct 23, 2009 - 66 comments

MétaFiltre!

The Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau recently made its French/English/Spanish technical terminology database, Termium, free to access after over a decade as a subscription-based service. While off-the-cuff translations are often available from free services like BabelFish, Termium focuses on technical terminology such as scientific, medical and legal terms. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Oct 22, 2009 - 35 comments

!

[",'...:.?;-) [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Sep 24, 2009 - 53 comments

hi cutie ur realy sexy. msn?

How (not) to write an online-dating message, based on a sample of 500,000 "first contact" messages. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Sep 14, 2009 - 79 comments

Is this your homework, Larry?

The research, literary, and copy editors of Vanity Fair go to town on Sarah Palin's resignation speech.
seeing as nearly everyone I talked to at the 10th meetup was an editor of some kind, you'll all get a kick out of this
posted by Jon_Evil on Jul 20, 2009 - 79 comments

This post is very stylish.

For the last 50 years, grammar and style have been learned from The Elements of Style. That's not necessarily a good thing.
posted by jacquilynne on Apr 11, 2009 - 117 comments

Comic book grammatical and aesthetic traditions

Comic book lettering has some grammatical and aesthetic traditions that are quite unique. What follows is a list that every letterer eventually commits to his/her own mental reference file.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 3, 2009 - 36 comments

3d context free

Structure Synth is an application for creating 3D structures from a set of user specified rules. It is an attempt to make a 3D version of Context Free.
posted by signal on Jan 2, 2009 - 8 comments

The Long and Short of It

Long and short of it continues in part 2 I loved reading the first part of this series and it now has the second part that I have put link to. Long and short of it goes deeper into an important topic: Whether we should have a long sentence or a short one when describing things. I would well go with the long sentence as written by Charles Dickens on his novel Oliver Twist a century ago. But it seems quite a few people prefer short ones! What's your take on this.
posted by susanharper on Dec 2, 2008 - 54 comments

Single link silliness.

The "best" of the internet.
posted by pedstel on Oct 14, 2008 - 44 comments

I can’t believe that posting corrections to comments takes that much time away from real work.

So apostrophree corrects these kinds of errors before people see them, preventing employees from spending time posting corrections and engaging in online flame wars about English usage?
posted by blasdelf on Aug 12, 2008 - 94 comments

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