In the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, excruciatingly British phonetics professor Henry Higgins worries about the fate of the English language. “In America,” he observes, “they haven’t used it for years.”

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There remains debate about whether this adverb is appropriate or not. According to an NPR article, thirty years ago a few famous grammarians decided to “vilify” the word. Prior to this, so they say, the word was used without complaint. After three decades of debate, most of us are now confused.

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There’s something terribly wrong with the current state of content marketing.

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Q: I’ve been trying to produce content that bolsters my online profile and optimizes my search engine rankings. I’ve studied nearly all of the online tips and incorporated the strategies of various thought-leaders into my own web content, but I haven’t seen any improvement. What gives?

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Have you ever been reading something and reached the end of a sentence, then had to start reading the sentence again because you forgot what it was about?  Do you think it was simply because it was a long sentence? Or were there other reasons?

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Q: What would you say are the most overused words from the past year? I nominate “pivot.”

Yes, the word “pivot” – a word that was previously only used in osteopathic and Jazz dance applications – has been tossed around quite brutally, particularly on cable news channels. The Ninja agrees that as an indication of a swift, smooth, and (ideally) imperceptible change in narrative, it is woefully inadequate.

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Perhaps your high school English teacher told you about style guides, but maybe you didn’t even come across them until college when your English Composition instructor informed you, “You must use MLA style or fail this course.”

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I used to think I was a great writer.

Of course, that was back in eighth grade, before I had any serious education or formal training in the craft. Back then, all it took to be a great writer (in my mind, at least) was a great vocabulary and a desire to cram big words into small thoughts.

Ahh, it was a simpler time. You can imagine my surprise when I received feedback in my first serious writing class.

I saw red. Lots of red.

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If you’re like most professional writers, you avoid any math more complicated than balancing your checkbook. You might not even do that anymore, since you can just check your bank balance on your phone. A math-free life—how great is that?

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The Language Ninja explains the meanings of a newfangled millennial slang term.

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