But was it charged?

Yes, “battery” is the correct legal term for a beating, and this, no doubt, was taken directly from a police report.

But when I read this, all I could imagine was a crushed AAA lying in the gutter. Or maybe it was a nine-volt.

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How a single letter sends meaning into retreat

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the almost right word was the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Let’s add this to Twain’s thought: The difference between the right spelling and the almost right spelling is the difference between clarity and hilarity.

Consider the accompanying example. …

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Down with up!

Actually, “up” is a perfectly good word.
Without “up,” we could “look at” a dictionary, but we’d never “look up” anything.
For all its usefulness, though, “up” makes a ghastly verb when used to mean “increase” or “improve.”

As if transformed, that cute, handy little word suddenly communicates with all the eloquence of a suppository. …

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Working toward tighter writing

Tight writing improves clarity. Think of giving a friend directions to your house or apartment: Would you send her down the same street twice, guide her onto dead-end roads, force

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