An Open Letter to NaNoWriMo Participants

Dear Wrimos: Congratulations! You’ve embarked on a pretty remarkable adventure. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, the act of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, in the company of so many others, is quite an impressive endeavor. You should be proud of yourselves. You’re doing something a lot of people only talk about Read more about An Open Letter to NaNoWriMo Participants[…]

The Transitive Eric Clapton, or Lie vs. Lay

English is my mother tongue, and now that I’m using it professionally, I make it my business to understand the way it works. At the same time, I wonder how anyone manages to learn English successfully as a second language. English is filled with things that don’t make any sense. Consider these four letters: “ough.” Read more about The Transitive Eric Clapton, or Lie vs. Lay[…]

I before e … unless you really mean e.g.

Tucked away in the corner of my library, not far from the yearbooks, are my Latin books. I have a copy of Virgil’s Aeneid, Cicero’s Orations Against Catiline, and a little book of lyric poetry by Catullus and Horace. The poetry is especially close to my heart, but all of it brings back pleasant memories. Read more about I before e … unless you really mean e.g.[…]

The Many Faces of Gage: Why Names Don’t Matter Like You Think They Do

I’d like to introduce you to someone. His name is Gage. While you and I are talking, he’s going to have a seat here in the back of your mind. You should consider updating the furniture back there, by the way. Just saying. I want to have a word with you about character names. Making Read more about The Many Faces of Gage: Why Names Don’t Matter Like You Think They Do[…]

My Eyes Are Wuthering: Trying to Read Impenetrable Dialect

Looking at the photos from my alma mater’s Final Exercises (and trying to forget that my 20-year reunion is next year), I am reminded of something my high school English teacher once told me. After I’d read Jane Eyre – still one of my favorite books – I tried to take up Wuthering Heights. Before Read more about My Eyes Are Wuthering: Trying to Read Impenetrable Dialect[…]

No Sleep in Brooklyn for the Vigilante Copy Editor

Yesterday’s New York Times features a piece about a vigilante copy editor who roams the sculpture park at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. Check out the story here. The vigilante’s mission is to repair the many grammatical and punctuation issues that afflict the placards in front of the artwork. No one knows whether this is the work Read more about No Sleep in Brooklyn for the Vigilante Copy Editor[…]