grammar

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SCOTUS Upholds Guy's Porn Sentence Based on a Comma

Punctuation is important, people

(Newser) - We already know punctuation saves lives . Now a Supreme Court ruling proves it also makes or breaks legal cases. Per Courthouse News Service , the high court on Monday upheld a prison sentence for Avondale Lockhart, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to child porn charges. He had been facing an eight-year... More »

French Outraged by Spelling Shake-Up

Officials changed the spellings of 2,400 words to make them easier for children

(Newser) - France is in uproar over reports that the official spellings of 2,400 words are being changed to make them less confusing for schoolchildren just learning the language, the Guardian reports. For example, "ognon" is now a fine way to spell onion in addition to the more familiar "... More »

Bob Dylan May Have Inadvertently Coined a Phrase

'I can't even,' he complained in 1966

(Newser) - "I can't even" may be a millennial catchphrase, but it seems Bob Dylan got there first a half-century ago. As Chris Willman points out in his Billboard review of the newly released Bootleg Series box set, the scene took place during a January 1966 recording session as Dylan... More »

Tiniest of Typos Looms Large on College Billboard

Yep, apostrophes matter, as the University of South Dakota has discovered

(Newser) - A University of South Dakota billboard erected east of Sioux Falls on Interstate 90 boasts that it's the "Best in the Dakota's," adding an apostrophe that shouldn't be there, the Argus Leader reports. The director of the university's marketing department tells the Leader that... More »

We're in the Midst of a Singular Grammatical Shift

It's all about the 'they'

(Newser) - Jane Austen wrote, "To be sure, you knew no actual good of me—but nobody thinks of that when they fall in love." But had she submitted that line to a modern English teacher, she would have gotten docked for grammar. Instead of "when they fall in... More »

Losing the Grammar Race: Trump Backers

Democrats' supporters make fewer grammatical errors: study

(Newser) - Can you guess which 2016 campaign supporters have the best grammar? Grammarly conducted a study on the comments left by supporters on the candidates’ official Facebook pages—seriously—analyzing them for grammatical mistakes. It turns out Donald Trump's supporters aren't making English great again: They made the most... More »

Lack of a Comma Has Big Legal Implications in Tenn.

Official uses grammar to make investigative records harder to get

(Newser) - How important are commas? Well, the lack of one is stopping Tennessee city councils from requesting investigative records from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessean reports. In July, the TBI looked into the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black man by a white officer in Memphis. In the wake... More »

Guy Who Made 47K Wikipedia Corrections Is Wrong

Crusade against 'comprised of' is unfair: newspaper editor

(Newser) - David Shariatmadari just can't go along with the grammar guy who's correcting everyone on Wikipedia . As a newspaper editor, Shariatmadari admits to having "grammatical bugbears," but the crusade by software engineer Bryan Henderson to eliminate every "comprised of" on Wikipedia is way over the top.... More »

Plugin Wipes Out Wrong Uses of 'Literally'

Because that word is figuratively everywhere

(Newser) - Ruthless about grammar? Got Google Chrome? This plugin , highlighted at Yahoo , could figuratively solve all your problems. The "Literally" browser extension gets rid of the pesky incorrect uses of "literally" that litter the Internet, replacing them with "figuratively." According to the extension's developer, "that'... More »

Internet Invents a Preposition, Because Irony

Blogs, social media changing grammar: Megan Garber

(Newser) - Because politics. Because science. Because money. Remember when you'd need an "of" in these sentences? No longer, because Internet-speak, writes Megan Garber in the Atlantic . In short, the Internet has turned "because" into its own preposition (as language expert Stan Carey has pointed out ). For example,... More »

Rocker Gives Miley a Grammar Lesson

Sufjan Stevens writes open letter to Cyrus

(Newser) - Indie rocker Sufjan Stevens has a serious issue with Miley Cyrus. No, not with her twerking, her insistence on wearing as little clothing as possible, or her inability to keep her tongue inside her mouth. Stevens has a problem ... with Miley's grammar. In an open letter to Cyrus on... More »

'In da House': Music Industry Gets Its Own Grammar Rules

Guide aims to make songs easier to find

(Newser) - In today's sea of digital music, it can be tough for users to track down just what they want—particularly with all kinds of intentional misspellings, unusual capitalizations, and misleading credits. (Does Dr. Dre really perform on that clip, or was it a user's way of getting more... More »

Jimmy's or Jimmys? Feds Wage War on Apostrophes

Punctuation in place names spawns fight

(Newser) - Residents of New York's Adirondack Mountains have a bone to pick with the federal government. At issue: punctuation. A nearby mountain known to many as Jimmy's or James' Peak, but US officials won't stand for the apostrophe in the name, leading a local supervisor to grumble, "... More »

Obama. Slogan. Infuriating. Grammar. Dorks.

Is that period effective—or even correct?

(Newser) - President Obama's re-election campaign slogan isn't just "Forward"—it's "Forward." And that little period is causing quite a bit of controversy, the Wall Street Journal reports. First of all, there's the question of whether the period takes away from the slogan's... More »

Comma Drama Ends: Oxford Rule Stands

Grammar nerds rallied to defense of serial comma

(Newser) - Grammar fiends took a ride on an emotional roller coaster this week on news, erroneous as it turned out, that Oxford University was ditching its famous comma rule. (It requires a comma before the word "and" in a series: Not "a, b and c" but "a, b,... More »

Dear Writers: 'Leave the Damn Em Dash Alone'

It's overused and inefficient: Noreen Malone

(Newser) - Might one overused punctuation threaten the integrity of modern prose? Noreen Malone thinks so, and she points to the em dash as culprit. But wait, "doesn't a dash—if done right—let the writer maintain an elegant, sinewy flow to her sentences?" she asks in her anti-em-dash essay... More »

High School English: A Waste of Time?

No one wants to teach grammar because it's not fun: Kim Brooks

(Newser) - Sometimes, while Kim Brooks is grading essays by her college composition students, she cries. "Not real tears, exactly—more a spontaneous, guttural sob, often loud and unpleasant enough to startle my husband or children," she writes in Salon . Why? Because many of these students "simply ... cannot write.... More »

Please Stop Putting Two Spaces After a Period

It's a leftover practice from manual typewriters, writes Farhad Manjoo

(Newser) - Despite what countless people seem to think, it’s “totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong” to use two spaces after a period, writes Farhad Manjoo in Slate . It’s been the case since the early 20th century, but you wouldn't know it based on his readers ("In editing... More »

Many English Speakers Don't Understand English

Study discovers shocking grammar deficiencies

(Newser) - Loads of native English speakers lack even a basic understanding of the language, according to a surprising new study from Northumbria University. The researchers gathered a group of adults, some of whom were postgraduates students, and some who had dropped out of school at age 16, and tested them on... More »

Let's Rethink How We Teach English

Kids can't write, and it's getting worse

(Newser) - Take it from a first-year college instructor: The writing skills of young adults are a joke. "They have either forgotten the rules of writing, or they never learned them in the first place," writes Kara Miller of Babson College. And while the media focuses on the need for... More »

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