Vocabulary / Knowledge

Plural Questions Have No Easy Antlers

Q. I drive a school bus, and this morning one of my seventh graders said to me, "Monte, did you see those deers on the side of the road?" I explained to him that certain words, like "deer," are both singular and plural. Why is that? -- Monte ...

Today's Word "bohemian"

bohemian \bo-'hee-mi-yen\ (noun) - 1 : (when capitalized) A native of Bohemia, a region of Czechia; 2 : an artist who lives and works outside the mainstream. "Doing her best to play the part of bohemian poet, Janice would dress in all black...

Today's Word "kakistocracy"

kakistocracy \kak-uh-STAH-kruh-see\ (noun) - Government by the worst people. "After watching all of the suspicious tomfoolery engaged in by both parties during the recent election, Jed was convinced that the government was, once and for all, a...

Today's Word "demagogue"

demagogue \DEH-muh-gahg\ (noun) - A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power; a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times. "The candidate was characterized by his ...

Today's Word "autochthonous"

autochthonous \aw-TAHK-thuh-nuss ("th" as in "think")\ (adjective) - Indigenous, native; formed or originating in the place where found. "Though an avid bird enthusiast, Michael rails against species that aren't autochthonous, as they often ...

Send in the Nouns

Q. I was taught that the possessive should be used before nouns ending in "-ing." For example, one would say, "Your laughing ruined the mood," rather than, "You laughing ruined the mood." Yet it always seems that people are using the latter ...