On Language

A Short History of “Hack”

When is a hack a hack and when is a hacker a hacker?

Originally published March 7, 2014

Read the article at The New Yorker


Is Obama Overusing the Phrase the Wrong Side of History? Are We All?

Is it the right or the left?

Originally published April 17 2014

Read the article at Lexicon Valley


That Word for a Meme-Obsessed, Self-Aware Age

The that of it all

Originally published March 25, 2014

Read the article at Lingua Franca


How Weed Became the Hippest Slang Term for Marijuana 

Whatever happened to Mary Jane?

Originally published March 5 2014

Read the article at Lexicon Valley


Do You Say Amongst Instead of Among? Here’s Why.

C’mon, you’re amongst friends

Originally published October 22, 2013

Read the article at Lexicon Valley


The Lost Art of Newspaper Copy Editing

What happens when a grammar geek reads the newspaper.

Originally published January 24, 2012

Read the article at Lingua Franca


Ih-rack or Eye-rack

Let’s call the whole thing off

Posted June 16, 2009

Read the article at NPR.org


Y’all

The strange and contested history of a Southernism

Originally published August 06, 2007

Read the article at Stop Smiling online


You Go, Companion

What to call Paul Wolfowitz’s special lady friend.

Originally published April 20, 2007

Read the article at Slate.com


Pardon the Interjection

The Internet, and the rise of “awwa,” “meh” and “heh.”

Originally published February 16, 2007

Read the article at Slate.com


You Need To Read This

How “need to” vanquished “have to,” “must,” and “should.”

Originally published July 16, 2006

Read the article at Slate.com


My Heart Belongs to ‘Mother.’

One man’s protest against mom.

Originally published May 14, 2006

Read the article at nytimes.com

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