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June Casagrande's Blog

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Feb.17.2009
  "I friended him." = 940 hits"I befriended him." = 628 hits A story about Facebook on NPR this morning got me wondering whether "friend" as a transitive verb was poised to replace the word that has long done its job: "befriend." Looks like it is.
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Feb.12.2009
  According to British publication Mail Online, the city of Birmingham is dropping apostrophes from road and street signs. Apparently, there were already so many apostropheless signs -- signs for places like Kings Norton, Acocks Green and Druids Heath -- that theyve given up. I dont yet know how...
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Feb.11.2009
  One I came across recently on a Frommers.com message board was too good not to share: "The place is run by Rasta's, and if you take the time to talk you'll learn they are non-violent and dolt on children."
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Feb.10.2009
A colleague just asked me: Is it "the great outdoors are" or "the great outdoors is"? And I'm none too happy with what then transpired. Webster's New World and American Heritage online give no instruction on whether the noun takes a singular or plural verb. Dictionary.com and...
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Feb.09.2009
  In the past, I've dubbed "The Simpsons" the most grammatically savvy show on TV. But now it appears to have some competition. In just a few short seasons, NBC's "30 Rock" has squeezed in at least four great grammar jokes. 1. In last week's episode, Tracy, the seemingly not-too...
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Feb.05.2009
  like adv. ... as for example: 'great dramatists like Sophocles and Shakespeare' - Webster's New World College Dictionary (sixth definition) prep. ... such as; for example: 'saved things like old newspapers and pieces of string' - American Heritage Dictionary (fifth definition) There's a cold war...
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Feb.04.2009
Last month I wrote a blog entry about words that are out to get me. After some fancy footwork to try to deflect observations like, "Yeah, June, that's real sane," I identified the leader of the conspiracy -- the word "lead." I wrote: Like some kind of evil twin, "lead...
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Feb.03.2009
According to a piece on MSNBC.com, there exist people who are snobby about grammar! (Who knew?) And, as if that piece of breaking news weren't enough, the article actually goes so far as to seek out and find a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. Experts in the article say that grammar...
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Feb.02.2009
harassment  NPR's Day to Day had a story this morning about widespread harassment of women in Cairo. The reporter pronounced it HAR-as-ment, inspiring me to (finally) get around to checking this: Webster's New World College Dictionary says you can pronounce harass with the stress on the first or...
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Jan.30.2009
The Health section of Monday's Los Angeles Times had a small article about ab workouts. The headline was "Flatten that paunch." The first sentence began: "To challenge your core muscles and flatten a lower-ab pooch ..." I've heard people use "pooch" to refer to a...
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Jan.29.2009
From my January 27 column on tips for using the dictionary: Is it “I have drunk my coffee” or “I have drank my coffee”? Do you dissociate from something, or dissociate with it? Does “scallop” rhyme with “gallop” or with “trollop”? Most people find questions like these downright terrifying. Not only...
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Jan.20.2009
I can never stop being a waitress. I did the job off and on for perhaps ten years. But at one point it seeped into my skin and became part of who I am. So I'm forever condemned to having to fight the urge to bus unbussed tables in restaurants, to run over to the soda fountain to refill my own glass...
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Jan.19.2009
Publishers Lunch is reporting today that Milwaukee-area bookseller Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop is packing it in. Several of its four locations are likely to reopen as different bookstores. But that's not much consolation for the loss of an 82-year-old institution and a really cool place. My 2006...
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Jan.19.2009
I'm sure I speak for a lot of people here when I say our thoughts and best wishes are with you. No one who read even a couple of your blog posts could avoid having a sincere affection for you. I, along with many others here, feel your absence. We hope you're doing well and hope you know how deep...
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Jan.18.2009
An excerpt from columnist Steve Lopez in today's Los Angeles Times:  "A woman had come to a book signing of mine last year and insisted that I look at some of her decades-old stories and photos to see if they could be published. I later FedExed them back, but she claimed hey never arrived and...
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