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Grammar

When the thermometer aches toward 90 degrees, and the humidity powers past 90 percent, we should leave mere “hot” behind and describe the situation using the kitchen verbs: Baking. Boiling. Broiling. Read more

Business

This is an updated version of a previous Grammar Gourmet that has remained a hot topic, including finding its way into the world of sports in July as Greg Maddux’s National Baseball Hall of Fame plaque included this grammar mistake.Question:... Read more

Business

When you or I make a grammar mistake in a note or email, we can rightfully claim, “It’s not like it’s carved in stone or anything!”But when Illinois sculptor Lou Cella committed his big grammar blunder, he couldn’t make... Read more

Business

I’ve lived in Kentucky for nearly a quarter-century, and I’ve never known for sure how to pronounce Appalachia. Half the time, I say apple-LATCH-a, with a short A in the middle. The rest of the time, I blurt out apple-LAY-cha, with... Read more

Business

Words matter, not only in literature but in love. That’s why, as we move toward the wedding season, I am calling for a divorce — or at least a trial separation — between the words “soul” and “mate.”Who hasn't heard... Read more

Business

If you’re like me, you’re getting pressure to list your New Year’s Resolutions. My advice: Resist. For as long as possible. Then, if you must set a healthful plan for 2014, choose the vocabulary that is most likely to offer an... Read more

Business

In Washington state, you will no longer find a clergyman, a fisherman or a journeyman plumber. Nor will you run across a freshman, watchman or policeman. At least not in the state statutes. Last month, Washington became the fourth state... Read more

Business

Do you hate "brussels sprouts"? Or are they "Brussels sprouts" that you despise?I happen to love the little greenies (when sautÈed with garlic and almonds), but I do get confused about whether they - and other foods named after... Read more

Business

Imagine a world in which everyone shouts everything. That's what the internet - and many of our emails and other messages - has become, with its gazillions of exclamation points.Buy this! Attend that! Shop with us! The... Read more

Business

I am a SpellCheck snob. I think you ought to learn how to spell without referring to red squiggly lines on the computer. What if you had to hand write a ransom note someday?In this spirit, I am resolving to learn how to spell... Read more

Business

I'm dreaming of a grammatically correct holiday season.If you are sending out cards this month, avoid the most common missteps: Xmas, Hanuka, Kwaanza, and New Years Day. Here's the problem with each.Xmas (Dec. 25): While... Read more

Business

Bullet points whiz by us every day in the business world. I happen to like them when they're used to clarify someone's writing or to keep the writing short. If you're going to use bullets in your memos and other business communications,... Read more

Business

The Washington Post sponsors an annual contest in which readers take any English word, alter it by one letter, and come up with a new definition. Here are some of my favorites:Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which... Read more

Business

One of the most common writing problems I encounter is not gramma-tical, but rather the problem of sentences that should be short but instead go on and on and on to the point where the reader can no longer remember how the sentence started... Read more

Business

Lexington, KY - If there is one tense in the English language that causes more grammar smashups than any other, it's the past conditional. You use the past conditional to describe what you would have done differently... Read more

Business

Lexington, KY - I'm not sure what Stephen Foster was thinking when he wrote our state song, "My Old Kentucky Home." Right there in the first line, he obliterates an adverb. The sun should not, as Foster writes, shine... Read more

Business

The New York Times recently published an article saying "the media has focused" on unimportant issues. Aha! Even editors at the best newspapers don't understand that media is plural, and the phrase should have read, "the media have focused."Alas,... Read more

Business

Lexington, KY - For the 2,559th time, please don't spell out two-thousand, five-hundred and fifty-nine. Ever.When you're deciding whether to spell out a number or use a numeral, the general guideline is the following:... Read more

Business

Comb through your latest writings - e-mail messages, business reports, etc. - and you'll likely discover many variations of the verb to be, especially are, is, was and were. You can perk up your writing by banishing most of them.The... Read more

Business

Do I use one word or two?This happens a lot: People misspell a lot by making two words (a lot) into one word (alot). There is, in fact, no word spelled alot. So use a lot - but not too often, especially in formal writing.Did... Read more

Business