Famous Razors

Razors aren’t just for shaving. In philosophy, a razor is a rule of thumb that allows for the elimination (the “shaving off”) of unlikely explanations. The most famous is Occam’s…

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“A little lesbian joke …”

The Bechdel test — sometimes called the Bechdel-Wallace test — began as “a little lesbian joke in an alternative feminist newspaper” back in 1985. Posed in a comic strip by…

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Context is everything! Cats and dogs in the Bible

I spotted this quote in a magazine this week … “The dog is mentioned in the Bible 18 times — the cat not even once.” –W E Farbstein, on the…

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Check your popularity with n-grams

Y’all know about n-grams, right? Wikipedia nails ’em: … an n-gram is a contiguous sequence of n items from a given sequence of text or speech. The items can be phonemes,…

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Stephen Fry vs. Grammar nazis

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Interesting origins

The derivation of well-known words and phrases. Many familiar English words and phrases have interesting derivations, and because Britain was once a great sea power, a surprising number come from…

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5 English language myths

The problem — and the delight — of the English language is that there is no such thing as Standard English. Plenty of other languages have language regulators, but there…

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Secret writer’s tools – The G&O Style Guide

Pacman or Pac-Man? Phony or phoney? Post-modern or postmodern? At some point in your writing you’re going to need a style guide. Many publishers use the definitive Chicago Manual of…

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30 awful analogies

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The problem with the internet is that you can’t always rely on it’s accuracy.” The awful analogies below are widely attributed to quotes taken from…

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Why is English spelling so weird?

A 4:03 distraction from your writing … Now get back to work!

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