Category Archives: Usage

Placeholder for the usage cagegory

Meditations from the Track Changes Column

In the course of editing the writing of clients, I encounter much in the way of ticks and bad habits, not to mention sheer ignorance, particularly in the writing of beginners and illiterati — of which I edit more than I’d … Continue reading

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Above and Below

Don’t you hate it when you see above and below used as nouns? This lumpy construction usually occurs when the author wants to refer to material within text in a position relative to where the monstrosity occurs. (More precisely before … Continue reading

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Footnotes Versus Endnotes

My favorite magazine, The Watchtower, has a series of study articles in the July issue that uses endnotes rather than the footnotes it has used almost if not entirely exclusively in my forty-three years of reading the journal. A friend, … Continue reading

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There Are Not All Types of People

“There are all types of people in the world.” So claims an author I’ve been editing. Sounds like a truism, right? No there’s not. To say there is sounds as though there’s some master catalog of types, and that someone … Continue reading

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About Legacy Posts

As of July 25, 2011, I have migrated over 130 articles from my Neologistics blog, where since August 2005 I have posted many unsorted articles, including items unrelated to editing, writing, or literature. The articles copied from the old site … Continue reading

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A Former al-Qaeda Leader?

Recently I read a news story that referred to Osama Bin Laden as the “former leader of al-Qaeda”. Former? Ha! Perhaps so in the same way that Hitler is a former Nazi, or Ted Bundy a former serial murderer, if … Continue reading

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Simple Signage

In the venerable British tradition of estate naming, we call our house Haddon Hall. We named it that because we live on Haddon Road in Columbus, Ohio, also in tribute to a beautiful English medieval castle by that name. We … Continue reading

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Soft Pedal vs. Soft Peddle

Once I used the phrase soft pedal in e-mail to an erudite friend, in a form like this: “I intend to soft pedal my idea so as not to stir up controversy and resistance.” The friend corrected me, claiming that … Continue reading

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Taking a Drink

When we speak of taking some substance, in the sense of ingesting it, the verb take carries connotations of need, of measured and countable doses designed to satisfy a perceived deficiency. Most people would not think of taking medicine unless … Continue reading

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Jefferson the Neologist

Image via Wikipedia In answer to some people who stodgily protested certain Americanisms that had crept into the writing of Jefferson’s founding requirements regarding the University of Virginia, he defended himself by asserting that as new discoveries are made, new … Continue reading

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Ultrarunning Hyperbole

Certain tainted words occur repeatedly in journalism about ultrarunning, all of which cause noisy alarms to go off in my head whenever I see them. The four most frequent culprits are: crazy grueling test[ing] limits extreme Rarely have I ever … Continue reading

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