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Thee, Thou, You, and Ye

Mark in Indianapolis, Indiana, wonders about the history of the second person singular and plural in English. At one time, thee and thou were singular, and you and ye were plural. By the early 17th century, thou and thee as familiar terms of address...

Talking As Equals in the Workplace

Matt, a new college grad in Austin, Texas, wants guidance about what kinds of things are appropriate to share during conversations in the workplace. Sociolinguist Janet Holmes has extensively researched and written about this topic, including in...

Love or Like?

In his 1869 volume Vulgarisms and Other Errors of Speech, self-appointed grammar maven Richard Meade Bache gave specious advice against using the word love when you merely mean like. This is part of a complete episode.

Shakespeare’s Insults

If you don’t have anything nice to say, say it like Shakespeare: Thou unhandsome smush-mouthed mush-rump! Thou obscene rug-headed hornbeast! The Shakespeare Insult Generator helps you craft creative zingers by mixing and matching the...

Contact as a Verb

Contact, when used as a verb, is another word that once prompted peeving. In fact, in the 1930s, an official at Western Union lobbied for a company-wide ban on the word, which he deemed a hideous vulgarism compared to the phrases “get in touch...