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Preview: The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing

The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing

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Copyright: Copyright 2017 ArcaMax Publishing

Unzipping the Origins of 'Fly'


Why is the zippered opening on a pair of pants called a "fly"? Before you start speculating about body parts lurking near the fly or bodily functions occurring though it, you'll be glad to know that the origin of this "fly" has nothing to do ...

Evaluating the X 'Factor'


When a severe ice storm delayed the start of an NFL playoff game in January, a reporter wrote in a game preview, "Weather already has played a factor in the Steelers-Chiefs divisional-round AFC-playoff game." "Has played a factor"? Something ...

Teachers Told Him To Kick 'But'


Q: When I was in grade school, we were taught one NEVER begins a sentence with "And" or "But." Can you offer a definitive statement on this roiling controversy? I also have another question: When is it proper to use "further" and/or "farther"? ...

Let's Go 'Para'-sailing!


Q: What is the meaning of the prefix "para-" as in "paragraph," "paralegal," "paradox" and "parasol"? I read your column each Saturday in our local newspaper. I always look forward to the last PARAgraph for a chuckle. -- Lorraine Enlow, ...

Become a Blizzard Wizard!


"Blizzard!" Perhaps no English word better suits its meaning. Its "bl" sound evokes the violence of "blast," "blaze" and "blitz"; its "izz" sound imitates the whizz and sting of snow slicing into our faces; and the visual slant of its double "...

And That's the Way It Is


Carol Szymanski of Cranbury, N.J., recently wrote to ask whether the word "that" was needed in these two sentences: "If you can't remember that daylight saving time ends soon, you may forget to turn your clocks back." "Mary needs to go back to...

Ten ... Well, Nine Linguistic Resolutions for 2017


The long winter afternoons and evenings of January invite contemplation, self-reflection, and the occasional glass of wine. So, after raising my wine glass to the New Year, here are my 10 linguistic resolutions for 2017. --I will choose the ...

Brewing Up Some 'Small' Talk


Last spring, Steven Rattner wrote in the New York Times, "With real wages declining for many Americans, the enactment of relatively minor initiatives is small beer." Was he suggesting that Joe Six-pack is becoming Joe Five-pack? Not exactly. ...

The Word Guy: Language of 2016 Was a 'Dumpster Fire'


The year gone by, oh, what a mess. It left our language in distress. The venom of election fuss With "nasty" insults tortured us. From Donald Trump came crooked Hils, While she denounced "deplorables." He scolded "morons," "hombres" bad, As...

Language Goes to the Dogs


Every now and then I like to unleash my readers' pet, "Peeve." While Peeve is a gentle dog in polite company, whenever he spots an error in grammar or usage, he attacks it like a chew toy. Grrrrr ... Elmer Sullivan of Ewing, N.J., says his ...