The Word Guy / Knowledge

Compound Fracture of the Left Participle

You're the sentence doctor! Diagnose the ailment in each of these sentences, and then prescribe a rewrite to repair the problem. Just to make things interesting, one sentence is completely healthy.

1. The fact that experts disagree about the ...

Was Snidely a 'Wrapper'?

What did the dastardly villain Snidely Whiplash say when Dudley Do-Right tied him up with Reynolds Wrap?

"Curses! Foiled again!"

But is there a linguistic connection between the "foil" that means "a thin sheet of metal" and the "foil" that ...

Subba, Subba 'Few'!

Q. What do you think of the following? "Subba's is one of the only Nepalese restaurants in the city." I think it should be "one of the few Nepalese restaurants in the city." -- Nick Kyriazi, Pittsburgh

A. Your question piqued my curiosity -- or...

Is Your Usage Letter Perfect?

Do you know English usage from A to Z? Find out by selecting the correct word, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, in these 26 sentences.

1. George is (adverse, averse) to investing more money in the project.

2. Engineers ...

Moving Forward, Language Fizzled in 2014

The year gone by, Two-Oh-Fourteen,

Wreaked havoc on the verbal scene.

Events concocted dreadful phrases;

Cliches and buzzwords lurked to faze us.

In Syria, an awful crisis

Gave us "ISIL," (some say "ISIS").

From Puget Sound to Pensacola,


New(s) from the Word Front

Today, some random dispatches from the Word Front.

--Tough To Swallow: Have you ever noticed that the pronunciations of some words bear almost no relation to their spelling? How, for instance, would you pronounce "victuals," meaning "supplies ...