Category Archives: Use of words and phrases

Plain Languge certificate now being offered

Imagine that a certificate program in Plain Language has now been introduced. I confess I have mixed emotions about this. Encouraging more people to become proficient and to use Plain Language in communicating is a good thing. But gee whiz, … Continue reading

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Do superlatives do lasting damage?

Here’s a fascinating look at the Use of Superlatives in Cancer Research stories published in the JAMA Oncology. Reporters, take care. Consumers, beware.

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NYTimes piece points out sneaky and pernicious use of passive voice

This New York Times op-ed piece, A Texas History Lesson, by Ellen Bresler Rockmore, a lecturer in the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth, exposes how some Texas history books blunt the cruelty and ugliness of slavery.  Well worth … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: monopsony

“Monopsony” wins hands down for today’s title. Used in “How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon,” “monopsony” is defined in the enlightening piece by Bob Kohn as when a buyer of goods has the power to unlawfully lower the prices of … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: zettabyte

How high can we go? “Zettabyte” is a recently invented term to describe an extremely large amount of digital data, according to James Gorman in an article, All Circuits are Busy. A zettabyte equals about a trillion gigabytes or 75 … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: terroir

Am still catching up with Sunday’s paper. The story, “Loss Leaders on the Half Shell,” about the current oyster craze, captured my attention today even though I am not a fan of oysters, raw or otherwise.  The writer, Karen Stabiner, … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: blah, blah, blah

What consumer hasn’t listened to a medical professional and wondered: What the heck did that person just say? Too often, much of what a physician or other medical professional says sounds like “Blah, blah, blah, Heart Attack blah, blah, blah … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: Othering

I couldn’t help but be struck by Charles M. Blow’s use of “othering” in his column today. He put it in quotes most likely because it isn’t a word, at least not according to the dictionaries I checked. Here’s how … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: Obdurate

Headed to my dictionary today to look up “obdurate” used in a direct quote from Liz Diller, the poor architect who had to defend demolishing the American Folk Art Museum building before a crowd of 650 people, many of them … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: Forfend

                                         Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television for Masterpiece Gotta love Maureen Dowd for her vocabulary. She frequently sends me to the dictionary. And she did it again today with “forfend.” One can grasp the meaning from the context of the … Continue reading

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