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Was English Spelling Ever Standardized?

Was English spelling standardized before the advent of the printing press? No, but there were some significant periods in history where spelling became a little more fixed. Among them are the replacing of the Runic alphabet with the Roman alphabet...

Q and U Call it Quits

In a previous episode, five-year-old Quinn asked why the letter Q is so often followed by the letter U. A new children’s book seems to have been written just for her. Q and U Call It Quits is a funny story about the chaos that ensues for the...

Why is Q Followed by U?

Quinn from Excelsior, Minnesota, is five years old — well, five and three-quarters, as she points out. She wonders why the letter Q is so often followed by U. In Old English, the alphabet didn’t include the letter Q. The word quick, for...

Pandemic Pangram

In response to our conversation about pangrams, those sentences that use every letter of the alphabet at least once, Sarah McCall sent us this advice: Just mask up and be extra careful that you don’t quit always sanitizing everything. This is...

Comprised of vs. Composed of

An editor with a large database company is tussling with colleagues over the proper use of the words comprise and composed of. She believes the correct usage would be: The alphabet comprises 26 letters or The alphabet is composed of 26 letters...

Sneezing Fox Pangram

In several previous episodes, we’ve talked about pangrams, those sentences that use every letter of the alphabet at least once. Lauren, who lives in Perth, Western Australia, sent us a couple penned by her 11-year-old daughter Sinead...