What’s New

Our newest book, coming in August 30 2022!  It’s … A History of the World Through Body Parts: The Stories Behind the Organs, Appendages, Digits, and the Like Attached to (or Detached from) Famous Bodies

A grab bag of historical spleens, chins, and more, this is your ultimate literary dissection of body parts throughout history!

From famous craniums to prominent breasts, ancient spleens and bound feet, this book will bring history to life in a whole new way. With their inimitable wit and probing intelligence, authors Kathy and Ross Petras look at the role the human body has played throughout history as each individual part becomes a jumping-off point for a wider look at the times. In far-ranging, quirky-yet-interrelated stories, learn about Charles II of Spain’s jaw and the repercussions of inbreeding, what Anne Boleyn’s heart says about the Crusades and the trend of dispersed burials, and what can be learned about the Aztecs through Moctezuma’s pierced lip. A History of the World Through Body Parts is packed with fascinating little-known historical facts and anecdotes that will entertain, enlighten, and delight even the most well-read history buff.

Available for preorder now from:
Barnes & Noble
Chronicle Books


You’re spelling it wrong… again  In honor of the National Spelling Bee, we return to our trip through the list of most commonly misspelled words in the English language. Wait… misspelled? Mispelled? Mis-spelled? These darn double letters… Also, we start out with a brief discussion that is *chef’s kiss*. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast) 
A dangling modifier walks into a bar…  Jumping off from some recent Twitter confusion, we look at how much trouble there can be when we misplace our modifiers, or just let them dangle in the wind. Recording this podcast, no animals were harmed. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)
Dead Grammar Is? We set aside our usual games and quizzes for a wide-ranging discussion about the necessity of grammar rules, when we need them and when we don’t, who gets to decide what’s “right” and what’s “wrong,” and whether we need to rethink that. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)
Genericide: We continue on with our discussion of trademarks by looking at words that were once trademarked, but have become so widely used that they’ve actually lost that trademark. Also, Kathy sings! And Ross explains why he never sings. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)
Trademark this! Hey, can we trademark this? Can we trademark the word “this”? We may not be lawyers, but that’s never stopped us from having opinions, especially when it comes to trademarking every word under the sun. I’m sure we can trademark “digression” though, we’ve cornered the market on that one… (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)
We’re Doing Some Verbing Which came first, the chicken or the chickening out? The egg or the egging on? The noun or the verb? Today we’re looking at verbing nouns and nouning verbs, and maybe even a little adjectiving while we’re at it. Trust us, this episode is NOT cringe! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)
A Visit from Lady Mondegreen Have you ever wondered who Jimi Hendrix was talking about when he sang, “‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy”? We don’t know! Because that’s not what he said. Today we look at mondegreens, those times we mishear lyrics or phrases in ways that completely change their meaning.  (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

The most likable people always avoid these 13 communication mistakes, say speech and words experts: A look at the most common communication mistakes to avoid if you want to win friend and influence people (CNBC article)

A really, really, really hard quiz: A look at a survey of words that people think make other people sound smart, and then we tackle the most difficult word quiz we’ve ever had on the show. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

We’re in a Mood: If I were you, I’d hold on to my hat, because in this week’s episode we’re going to try to tackle the subjunctive mood! We’re doing a lot of this under protest … (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Driving Linguistic Change: Prompted by a listener email, we look at the idea that women tend to be the ones who initial changes in language. Do they? If so, how? (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast) 

Get Thee Behind Me, 2021!: In which we air our grievances and discuss the words and phrases from 2021 we’d like most to be retired (or at least sent on a long vacation). (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Want to sound less annoying? Avoid these 15 words and phrases that are ‘embarrassingly cliched,’ say grammar experts (CNBC)

The (Most Mispronounced) Words of the Year! From “cheugy” to “chipotle” (Still!?!), these are the words that plagued newscasters (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Language experts Kathryn and Ross Petras on the year in words  – Leonard Lopate at Large/WBAI Radio , New York

A Grab Bag of Confusion: More of those easily confused words, from a slew of listener emails! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Medial Cluster Reduction!  Or … is it WRONG to pronounce the “t” in “often”  (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Weird Origins of Everyday Phrases: The sometimes surprising, usually murky origins of phrases we use every day — from the theatrical beginnings of “stealing your thunder” to the somewhat sloppy “getting caught red-handed.” (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Want to sound more confident? Avoid these 11 words and phrases that make you look weak: Grammar experts (CNBC)

Apostrophes? Who Needs ‘Em!: A talk about apostrophes used and misused, the problems with possessives, and the all-too-common “greengrocer’s apostrophe” (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Fun with Plurals!: What we get wrong when we try to use Latin plurals, the rules of English plurals, pluralizing compound words… Look out, our opinions on plurals are like a charging herd of rhinocerotes! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

You’re Spelling it Wrong, part 1 and part 2: YSIW podcast about the most commonly misspelled words, and why they’re so confusing. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Pretentious Confusables: Based on the many responses to our CNBC article, it’s a further examination of those times you try hard to sound oh-so-clever, but use the wrong word in the process.  (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

These 26 words can make you sound smarter—but ‘most people use them the wrong way’: Grammar experts (CNBC)

Fun with Contranyms, part 1 and part 2: A look at contronyms (aka antagonyms, enantiosemy, or Janus words) words that look exactly alike but have two completely opposite meanings, & some other -nyms as well! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Flapdoodle Words, part 1 and part 2: Talking about what we call “flapdoodle words” — those words and phrases that are redundant and just kind of junk things up. Or do they? (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Want to sound smarter? Avoid these 24 overused words and phrases that make you sound ‘pretentious,’ say grammar experts (CNBC)

We’re Flat Fine With These Adverbs: Think fast! Drive safe! Who needs that pesky -ly ending?  Let’s talk flat adverbs, those adverbs that look like adjectives but are, well, adverbs. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast )

It’s The Wild West Out Here!: Why we don’t talk that much about “The Rules” of English. Spoiler: THERE AREN’T ANY! (Ok, we’re kidding, there are some.) (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Mailbag Day! Or, We Lay Waste (to) The English Language : The lie/lay dilemma, and other listener questions (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

A Return To Blipover Words:  Words we sometimes use without really knowing what they mean, or words we see that we just kind of skim past because we aren’t totally sure what they mean (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

These are the 32 most commonly misspelled words, say grammar experts. – CNBC article

Taking Selfies:A discussion about the very popular reflexive pronoun “myself” (and its corresponding partners) (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

We Are Loath (Loathe?) To Confuse These Words:  And even more commonly confused words, this time beginning with letters L and M/ (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

To Me or Not To Me: I vs. Me, Her & Him vs. She & He, Them vs. They:  A look at pronouns, when to use “I” instead of “me” and vice versa/ (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

We’re Incredulous That These Words Are Confused: More commonly confused words (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

Who vs. Whom: When and why to use “whom” instead of “who” 

The 11 extremely common grammar mistakes that make people cringe—and make you look less smart – CNBC article

A Word Or Two About Portmanteaus: Talk about portmanteau words (two words that are “smushed” together to form a new word) (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

sibling language experts Kathryn and Ross Petras on whether the way we talk has changed since Biden took office – Leonard Lopate at Large/WBAI Radio , New York

Desultory: Its strange gymnastic roots, or what leaping ancient Roman circus performers have to do with modern unenthusiastic adjectives.

Capricious: The etymological battle between Team Hedgehog and Team Goat

Want to sound smarter? Avoid mixing up these 11 most commonly confused words in English– CNBC article

Tossing Words Around Willy-Nilly – from the Oxford comma to nihilism (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast)

All right/Alright: Is alright, er, all right?

13 most commonly mispronounced words in American English—and the right way to say them – CNBC article       

 sibling language experts Kathryn and Ross Petras on the new language COVID-19 has create‪d‬ – Leonard Lopate at Large/WBAI Radio , New York

Champ at the bit: Move over, popular yet incorrect chomp! A look at the commonly used (but wrong) phrase “chomp at the bit.

14 common words and phrases you’ve probably been saying wrong this whole time – CNBC article

Nonplussed: In which we are perplexed by the misuse of a literally perplexing word