grammar

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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 »

'Fake AP Stylebook' Well Worth a Peek

It pokes fun at language rulebooks and grammar dictators

(Newser) - It's not the likeliest of Internet sensations, but the Fake AP Stylebook on Twitter is well worth the buzz it's getting, writes Mark Peters. Anyone who's been tormented by such rulebooks on language, or by sanctimonious grammarians, will rejoice. And laugh. Typical rule: "When referring to someone with a... More »

Times Columnist William Safire Dead at 79

Ex-Nixon speechwriter, Pulitzer winner was forceful voice on right

(Newser) - Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist William Safire died today outside Washington, the paper reports. He was 79 and suffered from cancer. A onetime speechwriter for Richard Nixon, Safire, a self-described "libertarian conservative," used his background as a reporter and love for English usage to punch up his... More »

You're 'Me,' Not 'Myself,' and Other Grammar Peeves

Sad kids do not 'literally tear' the heart out of a mall Santa, and other mistakes

(Newser) - Some common grammar mistakes are also inexcusable, Johnny Truant writes for Copyblogger. Too many of the following, and your readers may decide "that you’re actually a chimpanzee—and not one of the smart ones, either."
  • It's "me," not "myself:" People often "think
... More »

RIP, Mix Tapes, Porn Age Limits, Typewriters, and More

(Newser) - Word processors, dot-matrix printers, rotary phones, and other formerly state-of-the-art technologies are just about gone and nearly forgotten. Carrying the torch for the likes of holding up a cigarette lighter at a concert is JR Raphael of PC World, who lists 40 leading lights of abandoned technology:
  • Looking up numbers
... More »

Strunk & White Is Still a Crock at 50

(Newser) - Strunk and White’s classic writing guide, The Elements of Style, has some “harmless” things to say about style, Geoffrey Pullum writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but its assault on grammar is unforgivable. The “toxic mix of purism, atavism, and personal eccentricity is not underpinned by... More »

In Tough Times, Grammar Snobs Get Tougher

(Newser) - America’s self-proclaimed language cops are turning up the heat on spelling and grammar offenders, MSNBC reports, hitting the streets with Sharpies and venting their frustrations online. One psychologist says the flare-up could represent a need for control during hard times. “When people are under stress, they have less... More »

Us Can't Wait for World Series

Fan unintentionally coins rallying cry for first Series berth since '93

(Newser) - When a delirious Phillies fan called in to a radio show after Philadelphia's NLCS win, he inadvertently coined the team's new rallying cry. "Boston did it. The White Sox did it. Why can't us?," he asked. While waiting to see which AL team they'll face, Phillies fans have... More »

Gosh Darn if Her Jargon Isn't as Empty as Folksy

Palin's 'pompom patois' obscures a big lack of substance

(Newser) - From the party whose leader infamously asked "Is our children learning?," we now have the baffling homespun language of Sarah Palin, for whom Maureen Dowd isn't thrilled to have to translate. The vice presidential candidate's "sing-songy jingoism" conceals a mass of contradictions and often a lack of... More »

300M 'Chinglish' Speakers Can't Be Wrong

English as spoken in China may soon become a dialect

(Newser) - Some 300 million English speakers in China are altering the language in small but important ways—and may be creating their own dialect, Michael Erard writes in Wired. So-called "Chinglish"—which stresses unique syllables, drops dos and dids, and adds sounds for questions—has already been studied in... More »

Phonetics Reformers Buzzing at Spelling Bee

Revitalized movement wants to simplify the language

(Newser) - Every year, the National Spelling Bee sparks a protest from an 800-year-old movement that aims to simplify spelling by using phonetics, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Think thru vs. through.) “We have 42 different sounds in English, and we spell them 400 different ways,” says the 102-year-old... More »

Grammatical Dynamic Duo Wages War on Typos

Two men travel the country on a mission

(Newser) - Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson are out-of-work Ivy Leaguers on a mission. They just wrapped up a three-month cross-country drive to eradicate typos and grammar gaffes in public spaces. Sharpies in hand, the pair confronted store owners about typos on their signs and windows and did their best to correct... More »

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