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Comprised of vs. Composed of

An editor with a large database company is tussling with colleagues over the proper use of the words comprise and composed of. She believes the correct usage would be: The alphabet comprises 26 letters or The alphabet is composed of 26 letters...

Hornswoggle, That Odd Word

Scott in Billings, Montana, wonders about the word hornswoggle, meaning to swindle, bamboozle, deceive, or trick. This verb found its way into American English during the 1820’s, when there was a fad among newspaper editors and writers for...

Rules for Using “Comprise”

Comprise is a tricky word, and its usage is in the process of changing. But there’s an easy way to remember the traditional rule: Don’t ever use comprised of. Just don’t. Here’s an example: The alphabet comprises 26 letters...

Celebrating Obscure National Holidays

Let’s see… there’s National Cheese Day on January 20, and of course National Iguana Awareness Day on September 8. So it’s only fitting that good grammar should get a day of its own, too. National Grammar Day has been...