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Episode 1565

Lead On, Macduff!

For rock climbers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, the word send has taken on a whole new meaning. You might cheer on a fellow snowboarder with Send it, bro! — and being sendy is a really great thing. Plus: a nostalgic trip to Willa...

“This’ll” on a Spelling Test?

Jason from De Pere, Wisconsin, was surprised to see that among the spelling words his twin second-graders were studying was the contraction this’ll. Is a term like this’ll really appropriate for a second-grade spelling test? This is part...

Episode 1536

The Black Dog

Books were rare treasures in the Middle Ages, painstakingly copied out by hand. So how to protect them from theft? Scribes sometimes added a curse to the first page of those books that was supposed to keep thieves away — and some were as vicious as...

Cute as a Button

Did you ever wonder why we capitalize the pronoun “I,” but not any other pronoun? Also, the romantic story behind the term halcyon days, the origin of the phrase “like white on rice,” and the linguistic scuttlebutt on the...


I don’t want nairn, meaning “I don’t want any,” is a contraction of never a one, and it’s been used for hundreds of years. This is part of a complete episode.

All’s I’m Saying

All’s, as in the common clause all’s you have to do, isn’t grammatically incorrect.  It’s a valid contraction of the archaic construction all as. This is part of a complete episode.