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Sensational and Divergent Spelling

The intentional misspelling of business names to attract attention is sometimes known as sensational spelling or divergent spelling. This is part of a complete episode.

Dirty Laundry (#episode 1520)

When you had sleepovers as a child, what did you call the makeshift beds you made on the floor? In some places, you call those bedclothes and blankets a pallet. This word comes from an old term for “straw.” And: What’s the story...

Intentional Misspellling of Business Names

Andrea in San Diego, California, noticed a new restaurant with a name spelled in a curious way. Is there a term for this kind of intentional misspelling used in advertising? Onomastics is the study of naming, and a good source for information about...

Howling Fantods (episode #1513)

Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills, or that AM radio stations only broadcast in the morning? • A moving new...

The Neglected Salutation “Hark”

Our discussion about proper salutations for business letters prompts Mary in Austin, Texas, to suggest beginning such correspondence with the neutral but emphatic “Hark!” This is part of a complete episode.

Cootie Shot (episode #1510)

Perfect sentences and slang that tickles your mind! A new book of writing advice says a good sentence “imposes a logic on the world’s weirdness” and pares away options for meaning, word by word. • Your musician friend may refer to...

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