Pleated Jeans’ Jeff Wysaski shares a few excerpts from the novel he’s not actually writing.
Just a few short years ago, cursive was something all kids were taught in schools. Not anymore! In many parts of the country, cursive is becoming a dead relic of the past. But D News shows us why educators might be smart to keep teaching kids those loopy letters.
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today’s print dictionary is poised for transformation. As the CEO and co-founder of new online dictionary Wordnik, Erin McKean is reshaping not just dictionaries but how we interact with language itself.
Say the word “doubt” aloud. What is that “b” doing there? Does it have any purpose? Gina Cooke explains the long and winding history of “doubt” and why the spelling, though it seems random, is a wink to its storied past.
Nadia Kalman, currently a Literature Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, identifies three anti-social skills you can use to improve your writing. Eavesdropping, for instance, is one way to pick up juicy snippets of dialogue. Find out more in this animation from TedEducation.
In a letter he wrote to a friend in 1880, Mark Twain said, “I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English — It is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them — then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice. ”
Helen Sword is on the same track as Twain, but adjectives aren’t her pet peeve. She’s on a crusade to stamp out “nominalizations,” or what she calls zombie nouns. Zombie nouns transform simple and straightforward prose into verbose and often confusing writing. Here, Sword, who teaches at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, explains.