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June Casagrande's Blog

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Dec.16.2008
Every town has retail stores. Many have manufacturers. Some even have retail stores where you can buy directly from manufacturers. They’re called outlet stores. But one town is so special, so above all others, that it couldn’t stand to have its combination manufacturer-retailers clumped in with all...
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Dec.15.2008
Which is more interesting? 1. In Niger, nomads with battered Soviet-era weapons are fighting the army to control the uranium under the soil.— or —2. Israel is moving to “shore up” pensions. Another pair: 1. Radicals are protesting at the university of Athens in the wake of a 15-year-old being shot...
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Dec.12.2008
I'll be honest: I don't have a good justification for bringing this up.         I could craft one. I could talk about the creative formation of compound modifiers and how hyphens help the reader understand more quickly which words are modifying which. I could talk about language trends in recent...
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Dec.11.2008
I heard a new old expression the other day. The teacher of the economics class I'm watching via online video said that if you can identify an undervalued stock, you can get rich "in a cocaine heartbeat." Now quick: Guess whether the instructor is in his late-30s, his early-50s, or his mid...
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Dec.10.2008
fell and swoop Really, are there no other kinds of swoops? Must every swoop be "fell" (which means savage, cruel, or fierce)? Is there no other kind of swoop? Couldn't you have a robust swoop, a thorough swoop, hell, a happy swoop? How about a swift swoop? A comical swoop? A no-nonsense...
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Dec.09.2008
Over the years, I've encountered a lot of people who have strong opinions on the serial comma. They expect me to have a strong opinion, too. And I do. Here it is: I very, very emphatically don't give a hairy rodent. Use it, don't use it, fight to the death for either side. Go nuts. But I won't be...
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Dec.08.2008
healthy diet = 4,390,000 hitshealthful diet = 144,000 hits Traditionalists say that "healthy" means "in good health." They say that, if you mean "promoting good health," you need to use "healthful." That is, a healthy person eats a healthful diet.That's no...
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Dec.05.2008
Here's is another grammar lesson from my weekly column. This ran the week of Aug. 12, 2007. Thanks to Red Room member Dennis Shay for the inspiration (and for helping me think of stuff to post even on days when I'm too busy to come up with something original)!  * * *   A Word, Please By June...
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Dec.03.2008
cheeky This is by no means a new one for me. Strangely, it figured prominently in one of the philosophy texts I read in college. But I'm just so flabbergasted by an AOL news headline that I simply must bat it around a bit. The headline: Cruise passengers describe "cheeky" pirate attack...
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Dec.02.2008
This is for Dennis Shay, who's clamoring for more grammar lessons. It's an installment of my weekly grammar column, which ran in October (as will be evident by the dated references in the lede). I certainly hope at least one person enjoys it! * * *   A Word, Please  By June Casagrande  Our banks...
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Dec.01.2008
Part of my attraction to grammar has to do with what might be called "knowledge ghettos." The idea is that, on certain subjects, everyone can be divided into two groups: “experts” and “others,” with most of us segregated into that second category. It’s a position captured by the term “It'...
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Nov.26.2008
I'm excited to announce that this week my agent and I struck a deal with Ten Speed Press for a new book, tentatively titled "The One-Sentence Solution" (though I now think I have some better ideas for the title) and coming out spring 2010.        Ten Speed is best known for "What...
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Nov.25.2008
Per the story: Guests should be careful to keep all medications out of pets' reach, avoid sneaking food to pets under the table, and be careful about bringing in plants and foods. The short list of hazards:  Keep out of pets' reach: • Antifreeze • Chocolate • Acetaminophen, ibuprofin and other non...
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Nov.25.2008
By reading Language Log, I learned of a site called Typealyzer. There, you type in the URL of a blog (presumably your own) and the program analyzes your language to identify your "type." I typed in the URL of my home blog, and in less than a second Typealyzer produced the following...
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Nov.24.2008
Here's an excerpt from a post today at AbsoluteWrite.com: "I've recently been told it's wrong to start a sentence with numerals; i.e. "5235 Western Road was a big blue house..." Who are these schmucks running around using the W word -- "wrong" -- and thereby messing with...
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