Fun, oddball words about lovers of words and books

Quockerwodger. There. Now that I’ve scared off everyone who doesn’t have fun with wacky words, we can share some unusual words about word lovers and book lovers. Two words describe lovers of words: logophile and lexophile The logophile is likely to read and reread favorite passages of a novel over and over just for the sheer love of the words in it. A lexophile especially loves anagrams, palindromes, puns, and other word play. “Lexis” and “logos” are closely related Greek words that can mean “word,” among other things. They both form other, less well-known compounds. … Continue reading

Our ridiculous English spelling

Ridiculous English spelling confuses everyone. Even dictionaries and language experts get tripped up. Do you like to eat ghoti? In case you’re wondering what that means, consider gh as in enough o as in women ti as in nation To spell it a more normal way, fish. Fish and chips is fried ghoti and fried ghoughghteighpteaux. … Continue reading

Should passive voice be used or banned?

I submitted an article to a magazine, and the editing came back with this awkward passive voice construction: “Shopping bags are just one type of plastic film used regularly by Americans.” Ouch. Someone submitted an article to me that had one particularly awkward paragraph with too many sentences in passive voice. I have trimmed it to bare bones, but it contained all these passives: It is not forbidden to want to look beautiful, but living an ethical lifestyle is encouraged. Buying clothes is permitted, but you shouldn’t buy clothes you don’t need from a retailer known to oppress its workers. … Continue reading

To be or not to be? Use it as little as possible

Hamlet wondered whether to keep living or kill himself. Writers ought to wonder whether the sentence they’re writing needs some form of to be. It would probably be better with some other verb. Take a look at the first paragraph of an article someone submitted to one of my other blogs: Healthy, sustainable living might not be a new concept, but it is now shifting the face of the residential realm. Sustainable design is not just some fad, but a solution to some of the most sinister challenges that we face as a global society. The good news is that … Continue reading

6 outdated phrases and their forgotten meanings

Language changes, but technology changes faster. We still keep using outdated phrases long after we’ve left the old technology behind. Sometimes we update their meaning. Sometimes not. Some of these phrases are centuries old. Others, older generations remember the technologies well—fondly, even. But younger people have never used them. Or perhaps never even seen them. But the language lingers. … Continue reading