Reports

Why Are There So Many Ways to Spell Hanukkah (Or Is It Chanukah)?

December, 2018 Language Matters

Hanukkah is widely known across the English-speaking world as an important Jewish holiday. How do you spell it?

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Write Smart, Speak Loud, Think Quick: The Score on Suffixless Adverbs

October, 2018 Language Matters

Many English adverbs end in -ly (beautifully, honestly, merely), some other adverbs end in -wise (clockwise, otherwise, date-night-wise), and some never take a suffix (inside, midflight, so, thus). When a flat adverb (such as smart, loud or quick) does have an -ly form (smartly, loudly, quickly), many writers wonder whether it is acceptable to use the suffixless form.

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Is It Acceptable to Verb?

August, 2018 Language Matters

Verbing, also known as denominalization or verbification, refers to the creation of verbs from words belonging to other syntactic categories, typically nouns. It is common practice in English, and most of us encounter verbed words several times a day, on subjects ranging from texting to parenting and networking.

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Controversial Usage Rules: the Case of Comprise

June, 2018 Language Matters

Comprise is a popular verb when discussing parts of a whole, but many writers are unsure of how to use it correctly. Do the parts comprise the whole, does the whole comprise the parts, or are both constructions correct? Can you use the passive form comprised of? This article will examine the traditional rule as well as the history of usage that challenges it.

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Using Accents and Diacritics in English

April, 2018 Language Matters

To many speakers of English, there is something distinctly foreign about those small symbols that accompany letters in words like piñata, café, and many more. The reason for this is no mystery; they have never been a prominent part of the English writing system, unlike most languages that use a Latin script. Although many people call them accents, the correct name for these symbols is diacritic mark or simply diacritic.

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Millions, Billions and Other Large Numbers

February, 2018 Language Matters

The word billion was not introduced in the French language until the fifteenth century and didn’t find its way into English until the end of the seventeenth century, which is fairly late in the history of counting. What words were used before this time to talk about large numbers?

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BC and AD, BCE and CE: What’s the Difference?

December, 2017 Language Matters

The Gregorian calendar is the global standard for the measurement of dates. Despite originating in the Western Christian tradition, its use has spread throughout the world and now transcends religious, cultural and linguistic boundaries.

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