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  • Friday, April 18, 2014 - 9:48am
    Mark Allen
    Punctuation Book is a Good Guide to Perplexing Problems

    An important addition to the canon of practical usage guides went on sale this week: June Casagrande’s The Best Punctuation Book, Period.

    Casagrande’s boldly titled book covers the established rules of punctuation, but it doesn’t shy away from odd constructions (where would you put a hyphen in “too widely known fact”? How do you make a movie title possessive when style calls for putting titles in quotation marks?). Copyeditors are regularly stopped cold by such peculiarities, and most guides don’t spend time in the world of coin-toss copyediting. Casagrande is not afraid to admit language is messy.

    To help her tackle issues about which the big style guides are silent or vague,...

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  • Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 10:10am
    Mark Allen
    AP Stylebook Adds Weather Terms We'd Like to Forget

    The Associated Press Stylebook that went to press this week includes three updates to its weather terms: derecho, polar vortex, and storm surge.

    One would hope we’ve seen the last of the polar vortex, and no one wants a derecho or storm surge, either. The terms are not new—we’ve certainly been talking about storm surges for years in relation to hurricanes—but they have gained currency recently, starting out as the lingo of meteorologists and then jumping to popular use.

    And why not? These are some pretty cool words.

    Derecho is a borrowing from Spanish, where as an adverb it means direct or straight...

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  • Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 5:20am
    Erin Brenner
    News Roundup: Finding Work

    Featured Topic: Finding Work

    Today’s News Roundup includes stories that teach you to use Twitter and the Internet in general for finding work.

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  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 10:03am
    Mark Allen
    Most -ic Words Need an -ally, but Not Publicly

    We so often form adverbs by adding -ally to a root: radically, politically, exponentially. When it comes to public, it just feels right to form the adverb as publically.

    We also form many adverbs simply by adding -ly: slowly, hardly, firmly. The adverb form of public follows that pattern: publicly.

    A morning search of news websites finds plenty of examples of the publically error: BBC News, ESPN, the Daily Mail all needlessly added al in the past day.

    I’ve often heard it said that the word is publicly because you don’t do something in a publical manner. True, but we don’t do things in a frantical manner either...

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