Monday, November 30, 2015

Writing Prompt: A Gift

Now that Thanksgiving is over, so many people are now turning their eyes to the stores, trying to find the perfect gift for every person they know. It's a task few if any ever accomplish.

But the whole Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/CyberMonday/Fall into Bankruptcy Tuesday in part leads straight to this week's writing prompt:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Gifts for Logophiles, Now Less Expensive

Don't know what to get your book-reading, crossword-loving, grammar-correcting, or book-editing friends and family this year? How about a warm hoodie that broadcasts their wonderful geekery for all to see!

Make sure your word-lovers are warm and well-labeled this winter. Through Monday night, everything in the Logophilius shop at Spreadshirt has been discounted 10%!

Plus, if you order two or more items from Spreadshirt, you can get free standard shipping by using the code 2GIFTS at checkout!

Another exclamation mark!!shop/cwif
Prices go back up on Tuesday, so order them now. Click on the shirt to the right to check out the store, and thank you for supporting Logophilius. →

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fighting Over the Turkey Snood

I hope you all find something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. If you're a copy editor, this list of things copy editors are thankful for might hit home for you. If you ever hire copy editors, you should read it as well to try to get yourself on the list of people editors are thankful for.

In lieu of a legitimate, new blog post — because I'm a lazy bum — I direct you to this previous Thanksgiving post about the snood, an apparently useless appendage that grows on the face of one of the ugliest but tastiest animals on the planet.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading Logophilius!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Writing Prompt: For the first time...

The first snow of the season came to the Logophilius household on Friday. Entirely too early, if you ask me, though I admit I'm having a difficult time accepting that it's already the end of November.

Wasn't summer just two weeks ago? And autumn last week?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New Word Thursday: nidificate

I admit that when I first saw this string of alternating consonants and vowels, I could make no etymological connections. What other words contain the root nid?

I couldn't think of any.

I wasn't even sure whether the last three letters marked it as a verb (like pontificate) or an adjective (like delicate).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Word Thursday: poppycock

Poppycock is such a satisfying word to say. It's staccato syllables sound simultaneously childish and dirty, a prime combination for humor.

It sounds like popcorn popping, but with that cock at the end, it's popcorn you wouldn't want to eat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Homing In on Honing In

One of my readers suggested I tackle the unconscionable phrase honing in.

Unconscionable might be a little strong, but it's certainly one of those usages that drive editors bonkers.

I was all prepared to lambaste this obvious misuse, which is at best an eggcorn and at worst a sign of the collapse of English literacy, but then I started researching. And something strange happened: I got a more historical perspective on the two alternatives.

Don't get me wrong; I will stand by homing in to my dying day, but my vehemence will not be so, well, vehement as it once was.

You can draw your own conclusions after you read what I wrote about the subject at in the post "Honing and Homing In: a History, a Choice, and a Future."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Writing prompt: How's Your Vacation Going?

Think of an odd place to go on a vacation — somewhere you've never been — and write a letter home telling your family and friends about your travels. Tell us about the amazing locations you've seen, interesting cultures you've experienced, and exotic foods you've tasted.

The weirder the better, but the location must be somewhere you've never been, like a moon of Jupiter, a goat's digestive tract, or Detroit.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Who Put the Dash in Dashboard?

Who knows how or why these questions bubble up into one's brain, but the other day, I found myself wondering why a car's dashboard is so called.

I asked my friends for their opinions, because that's the kind of word-geek thing I do. One such friend suggested that it's called a dashboard because if your car comes to a sudden stop, it's what you will dash your brain against. As much as I liked this explanation, I was pretty sure it wasn't correct.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Writing prompt: That's not awkward at all

Two things happened to me this week.

One, David Sedaris came through town on a lecture tour, and I (along with a full house) got to hear him read some stuff about, oh, having his family over for Thanksgiving, playing Sorry! with his niece, and feeding his lipoma to a turtle. Naturally, that got me thinking about personal essays.