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Generational Gaps

Does your vocabulary mark you as old or outdated? Certain words really indicate generational gaps, like chronological shibboleths. For example, are thongs panties or flip-flops? And what do women carry around — a pocketbook, a purse, or a bag? Your...

Plural Pair vs. Pairs

What’s the plural of pair? Is it correct to say “two pairs of socks” or “two pair of socks”? The most common usage is “pairs,” but it might depend on whether you think of the things as a unit, like socks...

Dexterous Extremities

A Canadian listener’s boyfriend has a special talent. He can remove his socks, roll them up, and throw them across the room into the laundry basket, all with his toes. She says he has toe dexterity, but wonders if the word dexterous can apply...

Terms for Wedgies

When someone grabs your underwear from behind and gives it a good, vertical yank, it’s called a wedgie. A caller knows that term, but wonders whether and how a wedgie differs from a murphy or a melvin. This is part of a complete episode.

A Single Pair of Jeans

You have a pair of gloves, and there are two of them; you have a pair of shoes, and there are two; a pair of socks, and there’s one for each foot, right? So why do we have a pair of jeans when it’s only one item? This is part of a...