What’s New

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

Apostrophes? Who Needs ‘Em!: A talk about apostrophes used and misused, the problems with possessives, and the all-too-common “greengrocer’s apostrophe”

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

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. (9/3/21)

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! (8/6//21, 8/20/21)

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? (7/8/21 & 7/23/21)

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 (6/25/21)

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 (6/11/21)

Mailbag Day! Or, We Lay Waste (to) The English Language : The lie/lay dilemma, and other listener questions/You’re Saying it Wrong podcast (5/28/21) 

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 (5/14/21)

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 (4/30/21)

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 (4/16/21)

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 (4/9/21)

We’re Incredulous That These Words Are Confused: More commonly confused words/ You’re Saying It Wrong podcast (4/2/21)

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 (3/19/21)

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

Our newest book for word nerds — AWKWORD MOMENTS: A Lively Guide to the 100 Terms Smart People Should Know … But (Very) Often (Secretly) Don’t