Usage

Clay’s favorite nitpicks

November 3, 2003
By

Flack/flak; momma/mama/; gauntlet/gantlet.

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On appositives

November 3, 2003
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From the Purdue writing lab. An appositive is a noun or pronoun — often with modifiers — set beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify. The newspaper biz’s favorite use of the appositive is to put quotes around the name of a spouse … “Tom’s wife, Melissa, told him to turn off...

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Strunk & White greatest hits

October 22, 2003
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From the page on commonly misused expressions: Compare. To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances, between objects regarded as essentially of different order; to compare with is mainly to point out differences, between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage, to a...

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Struck & White greatest hits

October 17, 2003
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Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause.

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The Grammar Police

October 14, 2003
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Are always watching.

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The scoop on ‘sucks’

October 13, 2003
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Does it degrade the language and offend our readers to let it get in the paper? The Testy ones hash it out.

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Alert the Food Desk

October 8, 2003
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Food is not safe as long as you pick it up within five seconds of its hitting the floor. From snopes.com: Drop a cookie onto a clean floor, and you could eat it with impunity. Drop it onto a contaminated one, and it matters not how quickly you pick it up. And, short of...

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Chi Trib stunned to learn bloggers can write

October 8, 2003
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This one (reg. required) was linked on Romenesko … it’s about how some people are blogging their way into mainstream media jobs. (Hint: dish on celebrities and you’ll attract a lot more eyeballs than, say, dishing on news of interest to newspaper editors.) This stuff is old news to me… the writing and interviewing...

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’100 Worst Groaners’

October 1, 2003
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Courtesy of newswriting.com. Example: Flurry Of Activity – Not unless you?re the weathercaster, and it?s beginning to snow. There are plenty of less stuffy ways to say someone?s busy. Incidentally, these were intended for TV news people but it’s remarkable how many of the same groaners appear in print.

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Strunk & White greatest hits

October 1, 2003
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Misused expressions. An excerpt: Certainly. Used indiscriminately by some speakers, much as others use very, to intensify any and every statement. A mannerism of this kind, bad in speech, is even worse in writing.

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