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Preview: The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing

The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing



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Become a Blizzard Wizard!

Jan/18/2017

"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

Jan/11/2017

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

Jan/04/2017

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

Dec/28/2016

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'

Dec/21/2016

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

Dec/14/2016

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 ...





Jolly Mondegreen Giant Sleeps in Heavenly Peas

Dec/07/2016

"He's making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who's not eating nice." Bill Hoelzel sent me this charming rendering of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" by his 3-year-old grandson. It's one of many delightful responses I received to my...





New Word Books Deserve a Kiss

Nov/30/2016

"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point." If you find yourself standing under the mistletoe this holiday season, keep that punctuational maxim in mind. It comes from the French actress and singer Mistinguett and appears...





When 'Should'a' Contraction Be Used?

Nov/23/2016

Could'a, would'a, should'a. We know it's OK to use contractions in speech, but when should they be used in writing? Until the early 20th century, most teachers treated contractions like cockroaches scuttling and hissing through students' ...





The Immortal Voice of Elephants Gerald

Nov/16/2016

Mistakes of the ear can bring us cheer! A few days after a music teacher told her students that her favorite singer was Ella Fitzgerald, she gave her class a quiz with this extra-credit question: "Who is Ms. Smith's favorite singer?" One ...