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.”

Read More

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

Read More

Ah, the joys of youth – growing pains – remember swooning over your first crush from a folding desk? Sorting through your college picks with staggering anxiety, breaking curfew to spend time with your friends, and taking powerful life lessons from Lysol’s most recent ad campaign? Wait, was that just me?

Read More

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.

Read More

In a case of grammatical form following function, the American Dialect Society voted “they”, used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, as 2015’s word of the year. The selection may have some traditionalists clutching their pearls, but the recognition validates the singular pronoun’s utility and reflects our shifting social landscape.

Read More

It’s fairly safe to say that no one knows how to write humor. The great modern humor essayists – Dave Barry, P. J. O’Rourke, and the late Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck, among many others –do it naturally, instinctively knowing just what turn of phrase and clever irony readers will find funny, but they probably couldn’t even begin to explain how they do it. People who are not great humor writers, obviously, don’t know either.

Read More

In journalism, commas in a list are frowned on (AP Style outright bans them), and simplistic writing is encouraged. While journalists are, by far, some of the best writers out there, they have to adhere to a certain style—and not just AP or inverted pyramid. Their writing itself must be presented a specific way, or the piece gets tossed back at them like flotsam. “Your word count is too high,” is an often-heard complaint from news editors. “Re-arrange your first four paragraphs and cut back on the prose,” et cetera.

Read More

From The Rocky Mountain English Professor (aka Susan Metzger)

Read More