Does penultimate mean the very last? No! It means second to last, taking from the Latin word paene, meaning almost. It’s the same Latin root that gives us the word for that “almost island,” a peninsula. People misusing penultimate are overreaching with language. Instead, it’s best to write below your abilities and read above them. That’s the ultimate way to go. This is part of a complete episode.
- Flop Sweat 07/24/2017: Gerrymandering draws political boundaries to tip elections towards certain political parties. Originally, the word was pronounced "GARY-mandering" with a hard "g." But why? And why... [more]
- Smile Belt 07/17/2017: The only time you'll ever see the sun's outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring... [more]
- A Shoo-in 07/10/2017: This week it’s butterflies, belly flowers, plot bunnies, foxes, and cuckoos. Also, writing advice from Mark Twain and a wonderful bit of prose from Sara... [more]
- Noon of Night 06/26/2017: As a kid, you may have played that game where you phone someone to say, "Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!"... [more]
- Boss of Me 06/17/2017: If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today's bestsellers, and read one from the 1930's instead. Or read something besides fiction in... [more]