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The Aforementioned “Said”

Katrina in Williamsburg, Virginia, asks if it’s pretentious to use the word said to describe something previously referred to. Using said to mean the aforesaid or the aforementioned is far more common in legal documents, but there’s...

Not the Boss of Me

The phrase “You’re not the boss of me” may have been popularized by the They Might Be Giants song that serves as the theme for TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle.” But this turn of phrase goes back to at least 1883. This...

Sibilant Word Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski serves up a sibilant quiz about three-word phrases that have words beginning with S separated by the word and. For example, what 1970’s sitcom featured a theme song by Quincy Jones called “The Street Beater”...

Mathematical

If something is mathematical, is it cool? According to a mother of two middle-schoolers, that’s exactly what it’s come to mean among the younger set. Then again, irony is also pretty hip. But could her kids be using a piece of ironic...

A Murphy, a Melvin, and a Wedgie

When it comes to joining Facebook affinity groups, grammar lovers have lots of choices. Take, for example, the group whose motto is “Punctuation saves lives.” It’s called “Let’s Eat Grandma!” or “Let’s...

Filking

Ever notice how you can sing the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” to the theme from “Gilligan’s Island”—or for that matter, to “The House of the Rising Sun”? Turns out there are many more examples of this. Is there...