Barbara Wallraff

  • Until we meet again

    I'm so sorry to have been out of touch for the past month. In that time I've taken on a new assignment in an undisclosed location - which, sadly,…

  • The thrill of the crossword

    Watching Tyler Hinman win the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, yesterday, may not be as riveting as watching championship basketball, or even…

  • Learning grammar from Billy Bob Thornton

    I just discovered the rather hilarious site? blog? Celebrity English, which critiques the speech of the likes of Billy Bob, Angelina, and Jessica. It…

  • In a Word
    Peter Arkle

    In a Word

    Something I’ve always loved about foreign travel is that every product package, shop sign, radio program, and menu is also a language lesson. Just…

  • Presidents and the 7 deadly sins

    I've been busy trying to wear out "Speechwars" since my colleague Jim Fallows posted an entry about it yesterday, to help us all prepare for…

  • I would like to explain ...

    Comments on my previous entry expressed doubt about the correctness of the grammar of "I would like to thank ..." when it means "I am now…

  • "I would like to thank ..."

    That thoroughly ordinary staple of awards ceremonies demonstrates something curious about English -- and probably many other languages too.…

  • There's interminable and then there's interminable

    Re the March word fugitive, about a name for the "interminable" period one can spend contemplating the audiovisuals that cycle endlessly behind a DVD…

  • March Word Fugitive

    David K. Prince, of Lansdowne, Pa., writes, "Often my wife and I will decide to watch a DVD, and then she will delay coming to sit down, thereby…

  • Apostrophes, part 2

    In my "Apostrophe News" entry of a week ago, I said that I hadn't seen anyone point out that the city council of Birmingham, England, was following…

  • The Elements of Comics Style

    Writing is awash in conventions: Start a sentence with a capital letter. End a sentence with a period, question mark, or exclamation point. Don't…

  • Apostrophe news

    Last week the city council of Birmingham, England's second largest city, decided to drop apostrophes from all local street signs. Henceforth it shall…

  • John Updike

    Much has been said about John Updike since his death, yesterday. I'd like to give him the opportunity to speak for himself. Here are some…

  • Jan/Feb Word Fugitives discussion

    Herewith some Word Fugitives responses I wish I'd had space for in the January/February issue of the magazine. What they were in response to was…

  • The long view on inaugurals

    As I noted in my previous post, the Times the other day gave us a contemporary, interactive, don't-need-a-long-attention-span point of entry into all…

  • Tomorrow's word of the day

    I'm sorry I haven't posted anything yet today, but I've been having way too much fun with the  "Inaugural Words" interactive graphic in the NY…

  • Hinky!

    Reader Brian Clark writes:I have a two-year running dispute with my brother about the existence of the word 'hinky.' I had used it in a sentence,…

  • The uncertain future of dictionaries

    To me, the future of the dictionary industry doesn't look much brighter than the future of the American auto industry. To be sure, people learning a…

  • January/February Word Fugitive

    Carolyn Haggis, of Oxford, England, writes, "I'm looking for a word for the items of clothing which sit perched on a chair in my bedroom, waiting to…

  • Joining the "conversate" conversation

    My fellow Atlantic blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates posted a couple of days ago about "conversate": is it a word or not? He interviewed Jesse Sheidlower, of…

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

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Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

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A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

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In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

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What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

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Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

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