Pages tagged “grammar”

18 Dec 2015

Bendicks Bittermints

If you have never tried a Bendicks Bittermint, you’re missing out. One of my favourite bits of Christmas. I undertake thorough research before I post anything online (doesn’t everyone?) and was curious about whether there ought to be an apostrophe in the word “Bendicks”. Out of curiosity, I googled a related phrase. By way of explanation, first: I take pride in my spelling and grammar… but when hammering terms into Google, I don’t bother to correct them.

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23 Sep 2015


I recently had cause to peruse this article and it introduced me to the word “productionizability”. A noun derived from a verb derived from a noun. It made me cringe. Related to this, when I was at school the longest word in English was claimed to be “antidisestablishmentarianism”. It disappointed me, because it’s such a construction. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I always wanted to ask, “why stop there?

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01 Mar 2014

A new metaword

My entry for “word of the year 2014” is a metaword, in the sense that it describes itself. I humbly propose “participling”. The word describes the irksome and increasingly common process of taking a well known noun, artificially turning it into a verb, and then going one step further, adding “-ing” to get to a present participle. My friend Jo provided the inspiration for “participling” when she spontaneously and slightly ironically used the word “counterexampling”.

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22 Mar 2013

The missing article

Grammar can be important in bank statements. Glancing at the statement for the account I share with Sarah, I saw the following withdrawal, to her personal account: EVENING OUT MONEY -300.00 “Rather an expensive night out,” I blustered. Sarah, in the interest of brevity, had omitted the definite article. I was mistakenly led to believe that the first word of her explanation was part of a compound noun, rather than a present participle.

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21 Nov 2012

Good dialog, bad dialog

A couple of dialog boxes I’ve encountered recently. One I liked (well done, Marketo), and one I didn’t (Microsoft). I used the spelling “dialog box” deliberately. I would tend to use dialogue, except when talking about dialog boxes in a software context. Here’s an interesting Google n-Gram showing the prevalence of related terms over the past century. ‘dialog’ vs ‘dialogue’ vs ‘dialog box’ vs ‘dialogue box’ Also pleased to see there is a StackExchange for English!

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08 Nov 2012

Morrisons += 9lbs 1oz

My wife is amazing and we have a daughter! Iris was born at 20:40:53 on 5th November, which meant that Sarah’s labours were accompanied by the sound of fireworks. I am now enjoying the grammatical conundrums that occur because Iris’s initial matches the first person pronoun. “I and S are in the hospital” now means something different from “S and I are in the hospital.” Henceforth, contextual disambiguation will be required for abbreviated sentences in which I is/am the singular subject.

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