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Help Writing Historical Fiction Right

Judy in Fort Worth, Texas, is writing some historical fiction. What are some tips for representing the dialect and vernacular of a particular time and place with accuracy? One great resource is the Dictionary of American Regional English. Another...

Counting Coup

Counting coup refers to a tradition among the Plains Indians of North America of winning prestige and showing dominance by edging close enough to an enemy to strike him without dealing a deathblow. This is part of a complete episode.

Call for Tender

What does it mean to call for tender? This British phrase for soliciting a job is rarely seen in the United States, though tender, from the Latin for “to stretch or hold forth,” is used in North America in two different senses: “to...

When “Bad Writing” is Good

Ahoy! In this week’s brand-spankin’-new episode: Great gifts for language lovers, nerds vs. geeks, “tow the line” vs. “toe the line,” the slang term “poutrage,” and the crust in the corners of your...

dollar banana

dollar banana  n.— «Bananas from these countries are called “dollar bananas” because they are exported to North America and produced by American companies.» —“Global Issues For Breakfast: The Banana Industry And Its Problems Faq...