Friday, November 21, 2014. Last Update: Fri 12:16 PM EST

Language Corner

glasshalffull.jpg

The role of ‘in’ vs. ‘on’ for a popular phrase

You don’t know the behalf of it

Did you know that there's a difference between acting "on behalf of" something and "in behalf of" something? Didn't think... More

water.jpg

Capitalize this

What the upper case means for the folk phrase: “If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”

If you read a historical document, like the Declaration of Independence, you'll notice the capitalization of lot of words we... More

fish.jpg

Getting to know a ‘monger’

The wares of this word are sometimes fish, and sometimes just smell

This week, many people may be worried about the "fear-mongering" around Ebola. Others may wonder which "rumor-mongering" politician to vote... More

words.jpg

The history of ‘wrestle’

Getting to the root of the word

The football player "wrestled" the ball away from an opponent and scored a touchdown. Shareholders "wrestled" control of a company... More

stache.jpg

There are a lot of ways to misuse ‘hirsute’

Hairy vocabulary

We're going to make things a little "hairy" this week, in several senses of the word. "Hirsute" means "hairy," but... More

skunk.jpg

How common descriptors fall out of favor

The ‘skunking’ of ‘Oriental’

Once upon a time, as far back as 40 years or so, language pedants would not use "hopefully" to mean... More

very_old_computericon.jpg

Why you use your ‘logon’ to ‘log on’

It’s all about the adverbs

Time to start work. So you "log on" to your computer, using your "logon" or "log-on," or your user name.... More

fox_business.jpg

Beware journo-speak

Only journalists would call a tragedy a “mishap”

The public editor for The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, wrote a wonderful piece last month about how word selection... More

burtonhamlet.jpg

Shakespeare didn’t say that

Lines that are (mis)attributed to the Bard

Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned, and, should Shakespeare be alive today, he might feel much scorn'd. People... More

shakespeare.jpg

Fractured Shakespeare

All that glitters isn’t gilding

Much time has pas’t since Language Corner has revisited Shakespeare, or what passes for Shakespeare these days. A slight refresher... More

citibike.jpg

A fancy word for ‘custom’

Bespoken for

An article labeled as news fawned last week over the new Jaguar XE, which was introduced in London in a... More

lcdictionary.jpg

How to properly use [sic]

Hint: Not often

Twitter, Facebook, email, and the like are great reporting tools, allowing reporters access to more sources, wider reporting, and more... More

beer vocab.jpeg

Very important alcohol vocabulary tips

Foment vs. ferment

"Both sides are just trying to ferment a war," a blog posting said of the situation in the Middle East.... More

lcdictionary.jpg

Hyphen use disappearing

Is the web to blame for quick changes to language?

Language evolution is happening right in plain sight. “Off-site” and “on-site” are in the process of becoming “offsite” and... More

pterodactyl.jpg

Fun with mnemonics

If you’ve been writing ‘pneumonic,’ you’ve got it all wrong

A friend wrote that she had a great way of remembering a complicated topic. "I created a pneumonic device," she... More

Why won’t journalists ask Bill Cosby the tough questions? - Sexual assault charges are hardly ever mentioned to the TV star

Knoxville’s alt-weekly wasn’t losing money. It got shut down anyway - Scripps pulls the plug on Metro Pulse in favor of an entertainment supplement for the local daily

Chuck Todd’s Obama book says more about the author than it does about the president - ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics

Beware labeling Pope Francis a liberal - Political boxes like liberal/conservative and evolutionist/creationist miss his real significance

The Virginian-Pilot produces a breakthrough investigation amid layoffs - Reporter John Holland discusses how the story came together, newsroom cutbacks, and colleagues who cover for each other


Which media outlets use ‘illegal immigrant’? (Fusion)

“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”

Jack Shafer on losing his job (Capital New York)

“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”

On outlets that continue to call unknown drone victims ‘militants’ (The Intercept)

“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”

UNITY’s convention is no more (All Digitocracy)

“The organization’s board of directors decided that UNITY will no longer host the quadrennial conferences for which it had become known”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

  • If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $19.95 (6 issues in all).
  • If not, simply write cancel on the bill and return it. You will owe nothing.

Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.