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Car . . . “Crash” or “Accident”?

24 May

An online campaign seeks 20,000 individual pledges to self-edit.

In our society, language can be everything.  — Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Chief of the National Traffic Safety Administration


Believing in the power of language to help save lives, the traffic safety czar and others are urging Americans to shift from “accident” to “crash” when describing car accidents caused by human error, which is many of them.  If with a single noun we can communicate more clearly the responsibility of drivers for thousands of injuries and deaths, the argument goes, we can hope to change their behavior behind the wheel.  Adds Rosekind, quoted in The New York Times:  “When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen.’ ” 

The logic sounds sensible.  . . . But . . .

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The Case Against Adverbs

20 May
So many good reasons to retire them immediately. Or just to retire them.

Many good reasons to retire them immediately. Or just retire them. (New York Magazine illustration)


A strong and persuasive case, made by Christian Lorentzen in New York Magazine.  This will rub against much of what we have been taught about writing, especially the revered “transition”  that should have been barred from the curriculum decades ago. 

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A Picture Is Worth How Many Words?

7 May

Do you 😍 to use emoji when you ✍️❔

If 👍, then  👀 this post.  You will  💗 it ‼️ Continue reading

Bringing a Sentence to Life

21 Apr

Farnsworth's Classical English MetaphorWho hasn’t had his or her enjoyment of a great story ruined in English class by the assignment of having to identify metaphors and similes — as many as you can find?

 Not only is your engagement with a piece of literature interrupted (maybe even corrupted) by this assignment, but your appreciation of metaphors and similes can quickly be stunted in the process.  Continue reading