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Erin Brockoviching

In the game of adding -ing to movie titles, Erin Brockovich becomes Erin Brockoviching, the story of a crotchety Irishwoman’s habit of complaining. This is part of a complete episode.

Singing to Improve Grammar

When you have a habit of using a particular bit of poor grammar, rote exercises like writing out a script to practice may help you get past it. Practicing the correct usage by singing to yourself may work, too. This is part of a complete episode.

Words of the Year

What’s your choice for 2010’s word of the year? Mama grizzly? Starwhacker? Who could forget vuvuzela? Martha and Grant discuss the five-oh in Hawaii 5-0, and whether the tagline “I approve this message” is grammatical. Also...

Another Country Heard From

A San Diego woman says that when her baby starts crying in another room, her in-laws have a habit of saying, “Another country heard from!” This expression’s roots go back to elections in the 19th century, and was originally...

Reduplication for Emphasis

A woman from Dallas wants to know about a verbal habit she grew up with in her Cajun French speaking Louisiana family. It’s use of repetition for emphasis, as in, “it’s hot, but it’s not hot hot.” Grant explains how reduplications...

Like a Duck on a June Bug

Why are the names of cars so unimaginative? Grant argues that auto manufacturers might take inspiration from ornithology to build a better car name. (Then again, would you be any less aggravated if you were rear-ended by a lazuli bunting?) Also this...