Do We Really Need the Oxford Comma? A Federal Court Says Yes

Photo via Visual hunt.

If you don’t think the Oxford comma is necessary, a federal court’s recent decision will tell you otherwise. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of delivery drivers who claimed they were eligible for overtime pay under Maine’s regulations. Their argument relied on the absence of a serial comma in the law. (more…)

Snowflake, Alternative Fact, Post-Truth, & Other New Words Stemming from Politics

(Photo via Visual Hunt)

(Photo via Visual Hunt)

The new political order in America has added new words to our vocabulary. The media and technology also continue to influence our ever-growing lexicon. (more…)

Who versus Whom: Remember Just One Rule

Photo credit: rosefirerising via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: rosefirerising via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Do you have trouble remembering when to use who or whom? It’s a common problem with a quick fix from a Grammar Girl video. (more…)

Brexit and Other New Words Stemming from Political News

London Sculpture-VinceFazziPhoto

“Vroom Vroom” sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn, outside The Dorchester on Park Lane in London—where the word Brexit originated. (Photo by Vincent Fazzi, May 2011.)

The European Union’s loss is the English vocabulary’s gain. We’re talking about Brexit, a new word stemming from the news. (more…)

Normcore, Americaphobia, and 8 Other New Words to Take Note Of

Are you emojinal? Photo credit: Wicker Paradise via Visual hunt / CC BY

Are you emojinal? (Photo by Wicker Paradise via Visual hunt / CC BY)

The English language evolves all the time. New words are born and old words change meanings. This evolution is part of what makes writing exciting. Here are 10 new or newly coined words to take note of. (more…)

8 Overused and Meaningless Words to Avoid

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

There are about one million English words, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. If you’re a writer, you have plenty to choose from. You have no reason to resort to overused words that have become meaningless. (more…)

Oxford Comma: To Use or Not to Use? That is the Question

Strunk&White-CindyFazziPicAs a writer, the AP Stylebook is my bible. I’ve changed jobs, from journalism to P.R. and now marketing, but I continue to follow it—except for its rule against the Oxford comma. I follow Strunk and White’s rule, instead. You would do well to do the same. (more…)

Verb, Verbing, Verbification: Turning Nouns into Verbs

The dictionary defines “bicycle” as both a noun and a verb. (Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection)

The dictionary defines bicycle as both a noun and a verb. (Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection)

It’s easy to blame Google for our tendency to turn nouns into verbs. We all say, “Just Google it,” instead of “Search it on Google.” This inclination, however, goes back a long way. (more…)

Common Mistakes about 10 Common Phrases

It’s easy to have peace of mind (not piece of mind) when you’re relaxing on this gorgeous beach on Maui (Photo by Cindy Fazzi).

It’s easy to have peace of mind (not piece of mind) when you’re relaxing on this gorgeous beach in Maui (Photo by Cindy Fazzi).

Hear, hear—don’t write “here, here” if you’re referring to the phrase expressing approval. Don’t take my word for it, check out the dictionary. The expression, which goes back to the 17th century, is short for “hear this, hear this.” (more…)

Affluenza, Hispandering, Swatting, and Other Negative Words from the News

Newspaper-CindyFazzipic

A lot of negative words originated from the news.

Bad news sometimes turns into “bad” or negative words. Just take the example of Ethan Couch, the Texas teen and the source of a new negative word: affluenza. Other words such as Hispandering and swatting also originated from incidents reported in the news. (more…)