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Please Find Attached

To some, the phrase please find attached might sound like musty old language for the e-mail age. It’s always smart to be formal when the context is all business, but there are other phrases that convey the same meaning, such as I’ve...

Placeholder “It”

A Quebec listener asks: In the phrases it’s a girl, or it’s raining, what exactly is the it here? It’s called the weather it or the dummy it, and it serves a placeholder inserted to make the sentence function grammatically. This is...

Homophone Word Quiz

Our Quiz Guy John Chaneski phones in a game of homophones. For example, what two-word phrase could either be described as a redundant way to name a common crop, or a seasonal attraction at state fairs? This is part of a complete episode.

Semantic Satiation

We’ve all had the experience of saying a word over and over again until it starts to sound like nonsense. Linguists call this semantic satiation, although you might also think of it as Gnarly Foot phenomenon. Stare at your foot long enough...

Tom Swifty Word Game

Our Puzzle Maestro John Chaneski has a great variation of his classic Tom Swifty game, based on adjectives that fit their subjects. For example, how did the citizens feel upon hearing that the dictator of their small country shut down the newspapers...

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