Our newest book, published 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 Mayans from Lady Xoc’s pierced tongue. 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.
Want to sound and feel more confident? Ditch these 11 phrases from your vocabulary, say psychologists A rundown of the phrases that can undermine your attitude (CNBC)
An interview on Seattle’s KIRO Newsradio, in which we weigh in on the persistence in calling Oregon (ORE-uh-gn to those who live there) Ore-uh-GONE. (And where’d the name come from anyway? )
SAT Prep: A look at some of the words that surveys say people have the most difficulty with, ones that show up in articles, books, and (groan) standardized tests but that tend to trip us up. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Brains, Breasts, Bowels, and Bladders: A History of the World Through Body Parts: Kathryn and Ross Petras in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On (LitHub)
Separated by a Common Language, Part 2: We continue our discussion of spelling differences between American English and British English, including what will probably be the last conversation you’ll ever want to hear about the nuances of “get,” “got,” and “gotten.” (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
What Happened to Anne Boleyn’s Heart?: Inside the strange medieval custom that separated the famed queen’s most essential organ from her body. (excerpted on LitHub’s CrimeReads from A History of the World Through Body Parts)
Separated by a Common Language: On one side, you have people spelling it “realise,” on the other, it’s “realize.” And the poor Canadians are caught right in the middle. A listener question from Spain prompts us to dig into why Americans and Brits spell so many words differently when they’re supposed to be using the same language. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Wait… Is There a Difference? Part 2: After we take another (brief) run at the lie/lay problem, we continue our discussion of words we often use interchangeably that might actually have different meanings. (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
Wait… Is There a Difference? A listener question has us talking about words we often use interchangeably that actually might mean different things. Don’t mistrust us or distrust us, we’ll never lead you astray! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
100th Episode of You’re Saying It Wrong: Yup, 100 episodes of words, laughter, etymology, grammar, and everything and anything word related …. and this time we’re taking listener questions. (Do you say toMAYto? Or do you say toMAHto … and is one “righter”? There’s more to it than you’d think!) (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
Language experts Kathryn and Ross Petras on the year in words – Leonard Lopate at Large/WBAI Radio , New York
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 )
Mailbag Day! Or, We Lay Waste (to) The English Language : The lie/lay dilemma, and other listener questions ! (You’re Saying it Wrong podcast on NPR)
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 on NPR)
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 on NPR)
Who vs. Whom: When and why to use “whom” instead of “who”
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
All right/Alright: Is alright, er, all right? Alright vs. all right — which is REALLY all right.
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.
Nonplussed: In which we are perplexed by the misuse of a literally perplexing word