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Wolf Whistle

Gifts for book lovers: Martha recommends one for lovers of libraries and another for students of Spanish. Grant suggests some enchanting novels for young readers. When it comes to books, though, you can’t always judge them by their original...

Pronouncing “Colin”

Pity all the fellows named Colin whose name is often mispronounced to rhyme with the punctuation mark (or the body part). General Colin Powell’s rise to public prominence in the 1980’s apparently prompted many people to adopt his unusual...

There Once Was a Gal

Ever try to write a well-known passage in limerick form? It’s harder than you think. How about this one: “There once was a lady who’s sure / All that glitters is golden and pure/ There’s a stairway that heads up to heaven...

Gracious Plenty

When somebody sneezes, we say bless you or gesundheit. But suppose that person coughs. Are you supposed to say something — or are they? Plus, Mexican standoffs, gracious plenty, linguistic false friends, southpaw vs. northpaw, the slang of rabbit...

Sound of a Kiss

You’re at a social gathering and meet someone you’d like to know better. What do you ask to get a real conversation going? Some people lead with “What do you do?,” while others avoid talking about work entirely. Still others...

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