Flawed Rules Are Better Than None

English-speakers don’t have to be able to spell all the words in English, just the ones they use in their

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Jeopardy Writers Get It Wrong Again

Jeopardy clue, December 19, 2017
Even though the Oxford English Dictionary is listed as one of their references, the Jeopardy writers occasionally write a clue without checking it.
On December 19, 2017, one of the categories was “More than one meaning.”
The clue was: “A coffin, or the gloomy feeling that comes upon you as it’s being carried.
The expected

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Agreeing with Trump on mike

Trump is one up on Colbert when it comes to spelling the shortened form of “microphone.”
At last, something I can agree with Trump about!
The other night in his monologue, Stephen Colbert ragged on President Trump’s tweet about Senator Jeff Flake, which included the following sentence:
Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of

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The Pronunciation of "gerrymandering"

Political cartoon of 1812 depicting a “Gerry-mander.”
A word much in the news of late is gerrymandering. The term refers to the manipulation of voting district maps to favor one political party over another.
The word is a portmanteau as well as an eponym. It combines the name of Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), who was governor of Massachusetts from

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New Problem Lay Lie

Poor Greta.
After writing numerous posts on the correct use of the verbs lay and lie, I’m ready to concede that getting everyone to use them “correctly” is a losing battle.
Even if English teachers are teaching the concept, students are not listening.
So many people tell their dogs to “lay down” and describe bodies as “laying in

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Are Your Homonyms Showing?

Homonyms are the words that Spellcheck won’t catch for you, words like plane and plain and to, two, and too. Professional writers should get them

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Optics and Perception

Why take a scientific term like “optics” and start using it to replace an ordinary word like “appearances” or “perception?”

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Stint and Stent

It’s not uncommon to see comments like these in web postings:
The artery was far too small to fit a stint.
Initially, they put in a stint and ordered an ERCP to determine the nature of the mass causing the blockage. 
They went in, got the stone, and put in a stint so any future stones would just

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Jeopardy: Stanch and Staunch

Jeopardy clues are written by a team of nine writers. One of their goals is to ensure there’s only one possible response, but they don’t always

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The disconnect between the spelling and pronunciation of some English words is not a sinister plot to annoy English

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