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Ticket Spitters

Ross in Lyme, New Hampshire wonders what those machines that dispense tickets at the entrance to a parking garage are called. In the business, they’re referred to as ticket spitters, entry stations, or parking ticket dispensers. This is part...

Beat the Band

Can language change bad behavior in crowded places? The Irish Railway system has launched an ad campaign to encourage passengers to be more generous at boarding time. For example, have you ever rummaged through your belongings or pretended to have...

Garage-Sailing

The guy who may be the nation’s foremost garage sale expert called us from Crescent City, California, with a question that’s vital for anyone writing or thinking about garage sales: Do the verbs garage-saling or yard-saling refer to the...

Monkey’s Wedding

It’s the art of constructive feedback: If you’re a teacher with a mountain of papers to grade, you may find yourself puzzling over which kinds of notes in the margins work best. Martha and Grant discuss strategies for effective paper...

Garter Snakes

Is that serpent in the garage a garter snake, a garden snake, a gardener snake, or a mouse snake? All are apt names for the same snake, but the original is garter snake, which takes its name from the sartorial accessory. This is part of a complete...