is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
posted by blue_beetle
on Aug 11, 2008 -
Immediately, Herson spotted an offense—a second-floor awning outside a tarot shop that advertised "Energy Stone's." They climbed the stairs to the second floor and approached a middle-age women with a quizzical expression. "We happened to notice the sign for energy stones," Deck said, "and there happens to be an extra apostrophe. 'Stone's' doesn't need the apostrophe."
"And?" she asked, her voice flat with annoyance.
"And we wanted to bring it to your attention," Deck said.
A look inside the daring lives
of Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, vanguards of the Typo Eradication Advancement League
posted by Rhaomi
on May 21, 2008 -
"The old, mean man" vs. "The mean old man."
Here's an aspect of English (and other languages) I've never thought of before. If you're using a string of adjectives, there's a natural order for them to appear in: "opinion :: size :: age :: shape :: color :: origin :: material :: purpose". (Although I find "old, mean," due to it's strange order, sort of striking.) [more info: 1
posted by grumblebee
on May 19, 2007 -
is a militant grammarian
: "We all care about language. Your concern may be different from the young hoodie's." On the other hand, he may have a point
: "The simple fact is we cannot afford to be careless with our language, because if we are careless with our language then we are careless with our world and sooner or later we will be lost for words to describe what we have allowed to happen to it." (via
posted by anotherpanacea
on Nov 8, 2006 -
A passive verb and adverb flagger for Mozilla-derived browsers, Safari, and Opera 7.5, with caveats.
posted by semmi
on Jan 6, 2006 -
English names for groups
various creatures are often bizarre. Many of the stranger collective nouns came from the Boke of St. Albans
. Most lists don't include a "parliament of rooks" any longer. Lists of collective animal names are available for children
. Though, oddly there doesn't seem to be a collective name for humans as a species, numerous names (mostly silly) exist for types of human groups
Dispute does exist in the world of collective nouns. Officially monkeys are grouped in "troops", but most people would agree that the proper term for a group of monkeys is barrel
. However debate seems to have been closed on the subject of the proper term for a group of tentacle monsters
Of course, you have to know how the proper grammar
when using collective nouns.
posted by sotonohito
on Aug 10, 2005 -
According to Stanley Fish
, "Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are." The solution: make them invent their own language.
After a generation that privileged content to the exclusion of form, is the pendulum swinging back the other way?
posted by myl
on May 31, 2005 -
Miss Gould, as she was known to everyone at the New Yorker, died last week, at the age of eighty-seven. She worked at the magazine for fifty-four years, most of them as its Grammarian (a title invented for her). A typical “Gould proof” was filled with the lightly pencilled tracery of her objections, suggestions, and abbreviated queries: “emph?” “ind.,” “mean this?”. Writes David Remnick: "She confronted the galley proofs of writers as various as Joseph Mitchell, J. D. Salinger, Janet Flanner--well, everyone, really.". More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 22, 2005 -
Punk-Tuation: Is It The New Anarchy Or Boring Old Fascism All Over Again?
serious about apostrophes are you? Just how far would you go for a perfect semi-colon? Do you regularly reach for heart pills before you read MetaFilter? Take comfort in this: Lynne Trusse's
wildly popular Eats Shoots And Leaves
is this year's
in Britain. And I've limited myself to the MeFi-adored Guardian
, just to make my (as it were) point. So... how important is punctuation to you? My own suspicion is that punctuation is the new spelling. It is
important. (And, lest this seem carefree and frivolous, let me confess right away that MetaFilter may well be the worst offender, in this regard, ever to have blessedly existed.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Dec 19, 2003 -
We are because of others. We are born into this world with minds as naked as our bodies and we have to rely on others to feed, clothe us, and to teach us to think of ourselves as selves. The key is language -- grammatical speech and human culture build upon the brain's biological capacities to create a mind that is something different again than that with which we are born. We are conscious because we can speak to others and ourselves, because we can speak of ourselves to others and ourselves. Language gives us as individuals, memory, and as groups, culture, the social memory. Or so thought Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky
, among others. Welcome to the the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness
posted by y2karl
on Jul 11, 2003 -
Jedi (n) and Klingon (n)
will now be listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. As will Ass-Backward.
Given MetaFilter's interest in grammar
this seems worth noting. How the editors decided that "Jedi" is worth inclusion but "Stormtrooper" is not is a conversation I would have loved to have heard. Naturally, people complaining about such inclusions ain't
new. However, when words are removed from the same dictionary it's hardly noticed.
Clearly unused words go away, so why do people make a stink about this year after year? Slow news cycles? Or is it an extension of the Prescriptivist - Descriptivist Argument
with the Prescripts making a push for the "hearts and minds" of the public?
posted by herc
on Sep 26, 2002 -
The Apostrophe Protection Society: ...reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.
posted by acridrabbit
on Aug 12, 2002 -
Bravo, MetaFilter Grammar Posse!
Following this memorable thread
, Lauren Weiner, the editor of much esteemed Knuckerap
, has kind words for those of us who contributed to it. [Embarrassingly, Ms. Weiner seems to think Matt Haughey's one and only MetaFilter is my web site. I'm honoured, so do please take your time before letting her know it ain't so. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Aug 6, 2002 -
They might actually be, you know, be useful.
This year, a student in Nebraska won $1000 for finding the worst example of overuse of the phrase 'you know,' by an athlete who said it 30 times in a 135 second interview. But are they really that terrible? Known as discourse markers, phrases such as 'you know' and 'I mean' are thought to be essential
in conveying information in conversation and helping us understand each other. Discourse markers also exist in many other languages
and possibly even ancient languages.
posted by adrianhon
on May 15, 2002 -
Learning propper english gramar ain't gotta suck no longer
. Someones made it fun and enjoyable for everybody!
And when you meat someone who can't write good, you'll know why.
This could even be the dearth of the MeFi grammar flames even! (nahhh)
posted by BentPenguin
on Dec 29, 2001 -
yo d00dz! hav u seen tihs?
"Two-thirds of the 18-24 year olds questioned do not worry about punctuation, grammar or style when writing messages. About 16% sign every e-mail with love and kisses, even when addressing their boss."
l8s, love wrighty XX
posted by gi_wrighty
on Mar 22, 2001 -