Horde vs. hoard and the fading of a grammatical fantasy

I once hoped that the A&E series Hoarders would help people use hoard and horde correctly. That was a fantasy, perhaps, but I thought that seeing the name of the show repeatedly would cause someone to think twice the next...

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A misused word that brings out the Tolkien in me

If you see a big guy with wild eyes and wild hair running down a street near you screaming, “It’s a lectern, not a podium! It’s a lectern, not a podium!,” please don’t call the police. That will be me...

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A lesson about ‘refute’ from the NYT crossword puzzle

Lessons often come from unexpected places. Yesterday, it was the New York Times crossword puzzle. Clues for the crossword often push the boundaries of obscurity (that’s what makes the puzzles challenging), but rarely are they downright wrong. This clue in the Times...

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Laying down the principles of ‘lay’ and ‘lie’

Two Associated Press leads from Sunday’s newspaper sent up a signal flare. They reminded me that it was time to talk again about “lay” and “lie,” if only to remind people that “lie” and “lying” are actual words they can...

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More language lessons from the App Store

Once again it’s time for Language Lessons from the App Store, a periodic feature that helps you see that writing code is not the same as writing sentences. Let’s start by jogging down some notes. For those of you who...

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