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The Circus Left. The Clowns Remain.

Following our conversation about the dismissive phrase, Not my circus, not my monkeys, Nelly, who is a professor of French and Russian in Marquette, Michigan, shares a handy Russian saying that translates as “the circus left, the clowns remain...

Pank and a Finnish Proverb

Frida in Marquette, Michigan, shares a proverb from her Finnish heritage that translates as “Until the food is ready, feed your guests with words.” She also asks about pank, a term she often hears there in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan...

Where You At?

A listener in Marquette, Michigan, says her daughters criticize her for saying where you at? They argue that the word at in this case is unnecessary. In many cases, this phrase is indeed a pleonasm, but Grant explains that in some contexts this use...

Be There Directly

In much of the United States, the phrase I’ll be there directly means “I’m on my way right now.” But particularly in parts of the South, I’ll be there directly simply means “I’ll be there after a while...

siping

siping  n.— «For extra traction, there’s an alternative to snow tires, a process called siping. Scott Willey of Willey’s Tire Shop in Marquette says, “It’s a process where we take a machine that puts extra cuts in the tire. It adds...

heater

heater  n.— «“The thing that I’m concerned about,” Echeles said, “is that this was the first ‘heater’ case for Judge Themis Karnezis.…” “What do you mean by a “heater’ case?” I asked. Echeles...