Lowth's Grammar

Shibboleths for National Grammar Day

For National Grammar Day, I’m posting a slightly edited version of “Shibboleths and entering the professions,” which appeared on Pros Write back in 2012. I wrote the original in response to the raised eyebrows after I posted  “Language choices can be unsuccessful — but never wrong.” For some readers, my belief that language can never…

From beauty by the geeks

How to perform the role of “grammar checker” at work

Yesterday in “The big grammar quiz of 2014,” the UK’s Management Today published a terrific piece about grammar in workplace writing. Test yourself with their quiz. Then review your score with their key, which includes thoughtful and accurate explanations. If you rely on Strunk and White’s classic, The Elements of Style, you will resist those explanations. But…

WordCrimes_BigDictionary

Fun with Weird Al’s “Word Crimes”

The digital world — including linguists everywhere — is rockin’ to Weird Al Yankovic‘s  “Word Crimes,” a parody of the hit song “Blurred Lines.” He rants about those who don’t know when to use  “fewer” instead of “less” or to use the apostrophe in “it’s.” It’s all in fun. Mostly. But those lyrics make clear people do judge us based on…

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Do you question when to use a hyphen?

It’s hard for researchers to avoid lengthy noun phrases. Often those phrases are a jumble for readers to interpret without hyphens. I promised some guidance to the doctoral students in my seminar on scholarly communication this semester. Here goes . . . The topic of hyphens came up because, in the past couple of weeks, my…