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Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
QuickAndDirtyTips.com

Five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing and feed... more

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Episodes

Why some sentences have double subjects. The story behind the old F-like letter S. Schwen schwen on dill.

987. This week, we look at why people sometimes double their subjects, writing sentences such as "John, he bought a... more

21 May 2024 · 16 minutes
Efficiency hacks for writers and editors with Erin Brenner

986. Erin Brenner, author of "The Chicago Guide for Freelance Editors," shares time-saving tips including the best practices for using... more

16 May 2024 · 31 minutes
We found the story behind "whim wham for a mucket"!

985. This week, we look at the world of whimsical words, including the origins and meanings of terms like "dinkus,"... more

14 May 2024 · 15 minutes
Words, coffee, and urban planning: Eli Burnstein on the Dictionary of Fine Distinctions

984. This week, we talk about the subtle differences between words such as "stock" and "broth," "street" and "boulevard," "maze"... more

09 May 2024 · 26 minutes
Skunked words. The power of pronouns. Quigleys

983. This week, we explore "skunked" words — terms going through hotly disputed meaning changes. We look at the debate... more

07 May 2024 · 17 minutes
Air worms and fire breathing dragons: Old English animal stories with Hana Videen

982. Delve into the fascinating world of Old English with medievalist Hana Videen, author of "The Deorhord." We'll uncover... more

02 May 2024 · 30 minutes
When (and How) Should You Cite AI? 'Critters,' 'Varmints,' and Beyond. Choobers.

981. Major style guides now have advice on when and how you should cite AI chatbots such as ChatGPT, Claude,... more

30 Apr 2024 · 17 minutes
Exploring the 'Funnest' Parts of Language with Anne Curzan

980. This week, I talk with with Anne Curzan about the fascinating world of language evolution, her new book, "Says... more

25 Apr 2024 · 33 minutes
The birth of punctuation: from oral traditions to silent reading. Noun clusters. A wing wang in a mucket.

979. Explore the fascinating origins of punctuation and how it evolved to shape written language. Plus, learn techniques to untangle... more

23 Apr 2024 · 16 minutes
How to become a supercommunicator, with Charles Duhigg

978. Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, Charles Duhigg, as we talk about mastering the art of communication and... more

18 Apr 2024 · 19 minutes
Big changes in Associated Press style. The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' finale was catawampus. Bappy

977. This week, we cover the latest AP Stylebook updates that were just revealed at the ACES conference. From the... more

16 Apr 2024 · 13 minutes
Pet-Speak: From Meowlogisms to Zoomies. 'Imply' or 'Infer'?

976. This week, we dive into the "cativerse" and explore the vocabulary, grammar, and spelling habits of our furry friends.... more

09 Apr 2024 · 19 minutes
You love to read. Could you narrate?

975. This week, I learned all about audiobook narration from David H. Lawrence XVII, who is launching a new program... more

02 Apr 2024 · 24 minutes
Memory, Aging, and the Lingering 'Anyways'

974. How does aging affect our ability to understand language? From the challenges of processing complex sentences to the resilience... more

26 Mar 2024 · 17 minutes
A nuclear win at the Oscars. CamelCase. One clo.

973. "Oppenheimer" leads us to wonder about the "nucular" pronunciation of "nuclear." And why do people have that second capital... more

19 Mar 2024 · 16 minutes
From grunts to grammar. The Irish 'after doing.' The winning NGD poem!

972. How did humans evolve from grunting ancestors to masters of language and poetry? This week, we explore fascinating theories... more

12 Mar 2024 · 13 minutes
Where did our language start?

971. Linguists have traced modern languages like English and Sanskrit back thousands of years to a single Proto-Indo-European source. This... more

05 Mar 2024 · 21 minutes
'Addictive' or 'addicting'? Types of nouns. Folley

970. We answer a listener question about the difference between "addictive" and "addicting," and then we look at how to... more

27 Feb 2024 · 14 minutes
Tracing the origins of Miami's new English. Why it's not a 'gumballs' machine. Embassy Sweets.

969. From "wolkenkratzer" in German to "flea market" in English, direct translations called calques show how languages borrow from each... more

20 Feb 2024 · 19 minutes
Taylor Swift Doesn't Need Your Grammatical Approval. In Love. Foil Lump Surprise.

968. We explain why Taylor Swift's album title doesn't need an apostrophe and how the preposition "in" signals passion.

13 Feb 2024 · 13 minutes
'A' versus 'an.' 'Larruping' rides again. Euonyms. Flavoring.

967. Should you say "a honor" or "an honor"? It's trickier than you think! We explore why articles depend on... more

06 Feb 2024 · 12 minutes
From 'hwhat' to 'what': Tracing a letter's disappearing act. Barkhouse.

966. We explore the rise and fall of the letter H: Debates over its name ("haitch" or "aitch"?) and why... more

30 Jan 2024 · 17 minutes
The listener show! (canceled, think, lettuce, funnily, episode numbers, at about, mangos, musgos)

965. It's a listener question extravaganza! I answer your questions about "canceled," "another think/thing coming," zero plurals such as "fish,"... more

23 Jan 2024 · 19 minutes
Technology changes how we write. Who was the first Goody Two Shoes?

964. From Nietzsche's writing ball to word processors and beyond, we look at how technology can change the way people... more

16 Jan 2024 · 16 minutes
More than fluff: Understanding 'needless' words. Larruping. Chicken surprise.

963. Strunk and White said to omit needless words, but sometimes "redundant" words can serve a meaningful purpose. Plus, we... more

09 Jan 2024 · 11 minutes
The psychology (and language) of time. Commas are like people on the subway. Fox chores.

962. We explore why phrases like "time flies" and "fast approaching" reveal deeper perspectives on time — is it us... more

02 Jan 2024 · 15 minutes
Why English has silent letters. Dayjamas.

960. Some English letters are seen but not heard. In fact, more than half the letters in our alphabet are... more

26 Dec 2023 · 19 minutes
A rizzy word-of-the-year chat (with Jess Zafarris)

961. Prompting, hallucinating, and more! Jess Zafarris, author of "Words from Hell," joins me for a word-of-the-year chat. Hang out... more

26 Dec 2023 · 22 minutes
The special sauce of human language. Gotten. NATO alphabet. A1 sauce.

959. Learn why human language goes beyond basic communication to allow spontaneous creativity, expression of identity, and leadership in linguistic... more

19 Dec 2023 · 14 minutes
What's the difference between Hispanic, Chicano, Latino, Latinx, and Latine? Can something 'grow' smaller? Musko.

958. We trace the history, usage, and meaning behind identifiers such as "Hispanic," "Chicano," "Latino," "Latina," "Latinx," and "Latine." Plus,... more

12 Dec 2023 · 18 minutes
When does a house become a mansion? Giving someone house.

957. We trace the linguistic history behind "house" and "mansion" to uncover how these two humble words for dwellings grew... more

05 Dec 2023 · 12 minutes
From metal type to metaphor: printing terms that extended their reach. The positive 'anymore.' Gigglemare.

956. How did terms like "stereotype," "boilerplate," and "typecast" make the leap from specialist printing vocabulary to widespread figurative language?... more

28 Nov 2023 · 17 minutes
Why is Black Friday black? The NATO alphabet. Byeloveyou.

955. This week, we're looking at the history behind "Black Friday" and other black idioms, plus what happens when the... more

21 Nov 2023 · 17 minutes
The science of the plot twist. Irregardless. Spug.

954. "Irregardless" isn’t going away anytime soon. Take a deep breath while we dig into this hated word’s history. And... more

14 Nov 2023 · 17 minutes
Omnishambles! Military slang across the pond (interview with Ben Yagoda)

953. In honor of Veterans Day, Ben Yagoda tells us tales of military words that marched from the British lexicon... more

07 Nov 2023 · 32 minutes
Cliches. Organic. Bully pulpit. Fimfy.

952. What is the boundary between idioms, slang, and clichés—and should we give "adulting" a break? We also trace the... more

31 Oct 2023 · 19 minutes
The dark histories behind your favorite scary words, with Jess Zafarris

951. What's the difference between terror and horror? Why was the word for "bear" so scary that it is lost... more

24 Oct 2023 · 35 minutes
Namesake. Commentate. Sprigly

950. Nowthen, a town with an odd little name, helps us understand the word "namesake," and then I have some... more

17 Oct 2023 · 13 minutes
How to write great topic sentences. Fanilects. Throwawayable.

949. Topic sentences aren't just for students! We have real-life, grown-up examples to help you write better business proposals, blog... more

10 Oct 2023 · 15 minutes
When 'nice' was bad and 'bully' was good. Is 'preorder' redundant? High-intensity transformer.

948. Would you believe "bully" once meant "lover" and "nice" meant "ignorant"? Join me as we explore the surprising twists... more

03 Oct 2023 · 16 minutes
Think faster and talk smarter. Tips from Matt Abrahams that will make you a better writer and speaker

947. Do you wish you could think on your feet faster? Well, Stanford business professor and communication expert Matt Abrahams... more

26 Sep 2023 · 21 minutes
Did Disney nail the pronunciation of 'Caribbean'? How to write equations. Chuther.

946. It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, which brings to mind "Pirates of the Caribbean," but you can actually pronounce... more

19 Sep 2023 · 13 minutes
Asking experts about language (interview with Steve Kleinedler, former executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel)

945. What was the famous Usage Panel from the American Heritage Dictionary and how did the panel's opinions influence dictionary... more

12 Sep 2023 · 33 minutes
When you shouldn't 'write tight.' 'Behead' versus 'decapitate.' YesHony.

944. Today, we untangle the often confusing web of writing styles. We'll explore the benefits of loose writing in fiction,... more

05 Sep 2023 · 16 minutes
Say hwat?! 'Anxious' versus 'eager.' Pink stein.

943. Join us for a fascinating romp through the evolution of phrases like "you know," "right?" and "I mean" from... more

29 Aug 2023 · 14 minutes
The wonders of the 'a-' prefix in English. 'Personal' versus 'personnel.'

942. We’re diving deep into the chameleon-like nature of the "a-" prefix, tracing its journey from Latin, where it often... more

22 Aug 2023 · 18 minutes
Hilarious typos (and how to avoid them). Why do we 'take' a walk?

941. Whether you've been betrayed by autocorrect or your own fingers, we've all made typos. But we have tricks you... more

15 Aug 2023 · 16 minutes
Have you ridden an acoustic bike lately? Write it tight.

940. Pork bacon, manual transmissions, and acoustic guitars: retronyms help us describe the original form of something that has now... more

08 Aug 2023 · 17 minutes
Did you know that on US Army bases, soldiers get a tattoo every day? Keep writing.

939. When I say the word "tattoo," you probably think of body art, but "tattoo" has another meaning that's related... more

01 Aug 2023 · 13 minutes
People have ~feelings~ about the exclamation point (Florence Hazrat interview)

938. Love it or hate it, the exclamation point has been on the red carpet lately because we're using it... more

25 Jul 2023 · 34 minutes
15 years of podcasting with Money Girl and Nutrition Diva

In this special bonus episode, I sat down with Laura Adams and Monica Reinagel, who host Money Girl and Nutrition... more

21 Jul 2023 · 33 minutes
'Less' versus 'fewer.' Fun names for fingers. Scunscreen.

937. Never be confused about when to use "less" and "fewer" again. Plus, have you ever wondered why our thumb... more

18 Jul 2023 · 16 minutes
'Inspirational' or 'aspirational'? The surprising dangers of ChatGPT. Spaghetto.

936. Have you ever wondered about the nuanced differences between "aspirational" and "inspirational"? Today, we look at a newer, more... more

11 Jul 2023 · 18 minutes
Phrasal verb mysteries and minced oath origins. Night water.

935. Ever been puzzled by the difference between "slow down" and "slow up"? Curious about how they can possibly mean... more

04 Jul 2023 · 17 minutes
Unlocking the mystery of 'ever words' and Latin abbreviations. Juna.

934. Ever wondered why "whyever" isn't as popular as "wherever," "however," or "whenever"? Join me as we delve into the... more

27 Jun 2023 · 13 minutes
Why words can suddenly look unrecognizable. Learn to love the full stop. Marley.

933. Have you ever looked at a word, and it didn't seem like a real word anymore? It's a specific... more

20 Jun 2023 · 17 minutes
Imagine life as a fiction editor (interview with Amy Schneider, author of the Chicago Guide to Copy Editing Fiction)

932. Have you ever thought it would be fun to be a fiction editor? "The Chicago Guide to Copyediting Fiction"... more

13 Jun 2023 · 29 minutes
Darth Vader and the word 'father.' Comparatives and superlatives. Pritinear.

931. Darth Vader wasn't the best father (understatement!), but his name is a wonderful jumping off point to discuss the... more

06 Jun 2023 · 18 minutes
TV changes how you use language. When to use (and not use) 'more' and 'most'

930. How YOU doin? Today we’re going to MacGyver up some fun memories and tips. And then we'll look at... more

30 May 2023 · 15 minutes
Why the heck does 'score' mean 20? How we subconsciously know how to pronounce different plurals.

929. While we were looking into why we use the word "score" to mean "twenty," our minds were blown by... more

23 May 2023 · 18 minutes
Why English is the best language for Wordle, with Lynne Murphy

928. Listen to the interview that got me playing Wordle again. Lynne Murphy shared all sorts of things you probably... more

16 May 2023 · 24 minutes
It's all uphill from here (or is that downhill?). Eating like a pig (animal idioms).

927. Whether you're a bird brain or a wise old owl, you'll love this week's episode as we fight an... more

09 May 2023 · 14 minutes
What's wrong with 'there are' sentences? 5 fun facts about Spanish for Cinco de Mayo

926. You may remember being told not to start sentences with "there are," but do you know why? We have... more

02 May 2023 · 18 minutes
Have you begged the question lately? What kind of learning is best: online, remote, distance, or virtual?

925. The existence of the manchineel tree does NOT beg the question of how many different ways a tree can... more

25 Apr 2023 · 19 minutes
What we get wrong about 'um' and 'uh,' with Valerie Fridland

924. What if I told you that you actually should use "uh" and "um" when you're giving a talk? And... more

18 Apr 2023 · 32 minutes
5 things every writer wants to learn, with Roy Peter Clark

923. America's writing coach, Roy Peter Clark, shares his wisdom about the five things every writer he's ever taught wants... more

11 Apr 2023 · 34 minutes
Killer bunnies in medieval manuscripts. The strange rules of 'dozen.'

922. "A dozen of eggs" sounds weird, but why? Rabbits performing violent acts are a common scene in medieval marginalia.... more

04 Apr 2023 · 21 minutes
The Rosetta Stone and taxes. Is your sufficiency suffonsified?

921. Taxes, and the words for them, go back all the way to ancient Egypt. Plus, I have much more... more

28 Mar 2023 · 14 minutes
Why we have both 'a' and 'an.' What does it mean to be lonely? Sufficiency.

920. Once you start thinking about it, it's weird that we have both "a" and "an." It gets even weirder... more

21 Mar 2023 · 17 minutes
How 'napron' became 'apron' (and what that has to do with newts). 'Ahold' or 'a hold'?

919. Rebracketing is a fascinating process that gives us more words than you might imagine, even words from French and... more

14 Mar 2023 · 13 minutes
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Killer bunnies in medieval manuscripts. The strange rules of 'dozen.'
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
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Description

922. "A dozen of eggs" sounds weird, but why? Rabbits performing violent acts are a common scene in medieval marginalia. But why... more