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Tips for Lay vs. Lie

The difference between the verbs lay and lie has always been tricky to master, but Bryan Garner has some helpful tips. This is part of a complete episode.

Little Pitchers

Did you know reading poetry improves your prose? That includes hip-hop lyrics, too.  Also, how linguist can guess where you come from based on how you speak.  What do you call someone who picks the chocolate out of the trail mix...

A Dancer Who Walks for a Living

You dream of writing the great American novel, but to make ends meet, you spend your days writing boring corporate reports. There’s a difference between writing for love and writing for a living — or is there? Does a heyday have anything to do...

Grant Barrett

Gone Pecan

How did the word gay go from meaning lighthearted to homosexual? Also, why are elementary schools sometimes called grammar schools? Plus, imeldific, gone pecan, random Scrabble words, and the difference between borrow and lend. And the etiquette of...

Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch

If you’re looking for a great book about writing, Martha recommends Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing. In it, Constance Hale offers an accessible, bang-up course in writing with excerpted passages that really show how the...

Pie in the Sky

Looking for a book to read with the kids, or maybe a guide to becoming a better writer? Why are leg cramps called charley horses? And where’d we get a phrase like pie in the sky? If you happen to be tall, you’ve no doubt heard plenty of...

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