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Four-Flusher

If someone seems too good to be true, he may be a four-flusher. This term for “a fake” or “a phony” comes from the poker slang four-flusher, meaning someone who has four cards of a suit but not yet the full flush. Some people...

Writing Customer Apologies

What is the best way to write an apology to a customer, especially if you’re handling complaints for a corporation. Some tips: be sincere, and make sure your wording makes clear that you understand the consumer’s complaint and that your...

Innocent Boner

At one time, a boner was a mistake. And now, it’s — you know. Beware of that outdated usage, grownups! This is part of a complete episode.

Typos: Performance vs. Competence

Can you get away with calling a misspelled word a typo if you didn’t know how to spell it in the first place? One variety of mistake is called a performance error, where the goof is somehow related to the machine or keyboard. A competence...

Acting in Haste

The saying “act in haste, repent at leisure” is typically a warning that means “if you make a hasty decision, you’ll have plenty of time to mull over your mistake later.” It’s likely a variation of an older...

Word Up!

What would you serve a plumber who comes over for dinner? How about … leeks? The hosts play a word game called “What Would You Serve?” Also, can you correct someone’s grammar without ruining a new relationship? And is there...