Category: Language

WORDS: Five We Misspell, Five We Mispronounce, and One Pet Peeve

Who cares about spelling anymore? With spelling tests in schools fast disappearing, our children are left to blunder along, trusting in technology to set things right. The upshot? In my opinion, although we may make fewer mistakes on paper, we are losing the ability to spell. And therefore to read. So, in an attempt to stem the tide of illiteracy, I humbly submit five common words just about everyone misspells followed by five words most people mispronounce and one small, very personal pet peeve.
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The Point of Words

Although many living things communicate with each other (my dog certainly feels a burning need to let me know the mail has arrived the very moment it does), humans, at least on this planet, are the only ones who have language. And novels. And stories. And Instagram.

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A Language Lesson

Author Raquel V. Reyes teaches us a little Spanglish today. Read her primer to whet your appetite for her upcoming cozy, Mango, Mambo, and Murder! @missdemeanors6 #cozymystery #foodiecozy #cubanamerican @latinasleuths

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Length Matters: How Many Words Does It Take?

How long is a sentence? The answer I got in junior high school was “long enough to finish the thought.” Cheeky.

For years, the longest sentence ever written in English was said to be Molly Bloom’s 3,687-word soliloquy in the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922). However, one of the finalists for the 2019 Booker Prize was Lucy Ellman, whose 1,000-page Ducks, Newburyport consists mostly of a single sentence that runs to 426,000 words. Beat that if you can.

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Pure Word Music

I was about thirteen, an impressionable age, when among the stacks in my small hometown library, I stumbled upon the novels of P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced “Woodhouse,” by the way). For the first time in my life I realized that a story could be brilliant, not only for what was said but also for how it was said.

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