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June Casagrande's Blog

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curcludgeon It's when you get bludgeoned by a curmudgeon. I'm sure any grammarphile with grammarphobe tendencies will agree we could use such a word.  I realize curbludgeon would be a more natural formation, but 1. it's too similar to bludgeon and 2. it's just not as much fun. So don't curcludgeon...
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  * Further evidence AP and Chicago are conspiring to make my head blow up: AP Style for capitalizing titles of works: "How to Turn Your Trash Into Cash" Chicago Style for capitalizing titles of works: "How to Turn Your Trash into Cash" AP says to lowercase conjunctions,...
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           ascertain I was always completely comfortable with this word, until I ran across it today while copy editing a sentence that started like this: "Now that you’ve ascertained that the ocean-view room you reserved does indeed have an ocean view ..."To me, "ascertain"...
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  "The park's four-acre Conifer Forest will turn into a primeval habitat, crawling with life-like robotic dinosaurs that roamed the earth 65 to 150 million years ago." I changed to: "... life-like robotic dinosaurs like the ones that roamed the earth 65 to 150 million years ago....
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  "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I've always thought that statement was overblown. For example, I've known a lot of people who claimed to be unimpressed with the looks of a young Farrah Fawcett. But I never met anyone who would brush her aside for a date with Bea Arthur. Jennifer...
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  I realize that people don't turn to me for public policy analysis. But yesterday, while getting my taxes done, it came to my attention that my very intelligent and well-informed accountant didn't know an important piece of history regarding our economic situation. So I thought I'd use a normally...
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  index I could have sworn that, years ago, I learned that the proper plural was "indices" and that "indexes" was a less-preferred form that was slowly gaining dominance. Nope. Webster's New World, American Heritage, and Merriam-Webster all list "indexes" as the first...
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  plumping Men may not have noticed, but "plump" has been gaining popularity as a transitive verb. Seems everywhere I turn, some youth pusher is offering to plump my business. They're hawking products that promise to "plump" my lips and "plump up" my wrinkles. Here...
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Taking its cue from a 10th-grader, Los Angeles County has designated the first week in March as No Cussing Week. I've always been fascinated with profanity because it has a built-in paradox. By labeling words no-nos, we give them a unique power that they otherwise would not have. True, obscenities...
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  Technically, it's fine to eschew question marks when a question is really intended as a statement. Who cares.Really.Can you believe it.How do you like them apples. But that's not how I roll. In my writing, it's: Who cares?Really?Can you believe it?How do you like them apples? I know these aren't...
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  Came across this the other day: Let's look at four of the coolest, campiest and downright otherworldly attractions that make for a great side trip. I scratched my head: "coolest, campiest and downright otherworldly"? It took me a while to decide that, indeed, this is a parallel problem...
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snarky Okay, this one is hardly scientific. But it's the best I could do given the limitations of this here Google tool. I wanted to know whether the word "snarky" had passed its prime. In my personal experience, its use peaked a few years ago and has been on the wane ever since. So I...
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  hyphenation There are so many style points that writers think they're SUPPOSED to know. So they're embarrassed that they don't know them. It's a waste of valuable energy - energy that could be spent writing. A classic example: hyphenation. Here, according to AP and its go-to dictionary, are some...
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As I've said, I don't like picking on typos except when they're really funny or when I'm hard up for material. SO, here's a little something I read on a travel forum: "Don't be afraid to use lots of sunscream."
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each Open up an Associated Press Stylebook to the letter E and the very first entry you see is "each. Takes a singular verb." (At least, it's the first entry in the 1992 version I happen to have handy.) So when we copy editors think of the word "each," we think of matters such...
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