Musings & Style

What Contributes to Your Grammar Lapses?

What Contributes to Your Grammar Lapses?

No one is perfect, and I bet that even sticklers for grammar make lapses now and then. The good old principles of the dynamism of language and Mere Exposure Theory are at work here. I have to admit that I can think of some people who won’t want to admit that publicly, though. Over the weekend, I was catching up on some Elementary, a TV series with a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. I was again made aware of how language evolves. In this particular episode, Sherlock is revealed to use text speak when sending text messages. While I make [Read more…]

Common Crutch Words. What’s Yours?

Common Crutch Words. What's Yours?

This morning, I just read – again – an old article published by The Atlantic Wire. Titled “A Literal Epidemic of Crutch Words“, the article highlights words and phrases that we tend to use loosely, both in formal and informal conversation. Going through the list, I couldn’t help but think that writers are not exempt from leaning on crutch words and phrases. Here are some of the phrases/words that I see often – and might have a beef with. Exponentially. “How could you leave out exponentially, a crutch word that might be used accurately once in a thousand times? Something grows exponentially when [Read more…]

Mistakes That I Sometimes Make…Do You Make Them, Too?

Mistakes That I Sometimes Make...Do You Make Them, Too?

To be human is to make mistakes. That’s an undeniable thing, but that does not mean we can always use use the excuse. However, if we are aware of our mistakes, we always have the chance to correct them. For this week’s grammar guide post, I’m going to share some mistakes I sometimes make. Often, I catch those mistakes – thanks to proofreading. Sometimes, carelessness gets in the way, and I just have to take criticism on the chin. Tell me if you make these mistakes, too! Who and Whom It is embarrassing, but I when my fingers are flying [Read more…]

Steven Pinker on What Our Language Habits Reveal

Steven Pinker on What Our Language Habits Reveal

I’ve heard it said more than once that grammar and learning the intricacies of a language can be boring. I guess it’s safe to assume that you don’t think the same way. (At least I hope I am right!) Earlier this week, I was working on another piece about TED talks. I don’t know if you’re familiar with TED, but the premise is to invite select speakers to speak to a limited audience, with the condition that the talk is focused on something inspiring related to the work the speaker has done. Since its inception in 1984, TED has grown [Read more…]

Texting and Grammar: Is There Really a Correlation?

Texting and Grammar

Ever since SMS or texting became commonplace, complaints about its many adverse effects have come up. I am sure you have experienced meeting with people face to face, only to have some (many?) of them stare and fiddle with their phones the entire time. You may have even been guilty of this now and then. There is also the issue of grammar and how it has degraded, thanks to texting. Without putting too much thought into the matter, it is easy enough to understand how texting may have contributed to poor spelling and improper grammar. After all, it can be [Read more…]

Idioms That (Might) Have Been Victimized By Advances in Technology

Idioms lost to tech

I love idioms! I speak only two languages fluently, but I do have a proclivity for learn idioms in other languages. That’s not to say that I remember all of them, but idioms are a wonderful way of gaining insights to a culture as well. We have a lot of English idioms, and many of them are inspired by technology. The thing is, we all know very well that technology advances very quickly. Many things we considered hi-tech as kids may not be “extinct” and unknown to today’s children. What happens to the idioms tied to tech then? Last month, [Read more…]

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