In the study of language change over time, rebracketing, also known as “juncture loss” and “re-segmentation”, is a process whereby a word is broken down into constituent parts and then reorganized. For example, the word hamburger might be divided as ham-burger, which could mean a burger made with ham. However, that would be wrong, because

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Pronoun Trouble: “They” or “He or She”

What happens when you’re writing a sentence and the gender of the person being spoken about isn’t known? Example: “Has anyone brought some quarters with them”? “Anyone” is clearly a singular pronoun of unknown gender, but the prepositional object “them” is plural. This has traditionally been considered a grammatical error. Share This:

Modifying Absolutes

Absolutes refer to words that don’t have gradations—the described concept is either true or false (e.g., dead, fatal, infinite, perfect, pregnant, priceless, unanimous, unique). As a rule, they can’t be modified; but they often are. Here are guidelines. Share This:

Toward Less Boring Linking-Words

So, you’ve done a lot of research, and now it’s time to start writing, or you’ve written your piece and it’s time to read it through for a first author edit. When you’ve written down your thoughts, they may appear on paper as you speak in everyday conversation. Share This:

On the word ‘like’

The word “like” is one of the most common English words, with many usages, some standard, some colloquial, and some completely idiomatic. Following is an analysis, with recommendations for good usage. Share This:

Negative Prefixes

Most of us grow up learning the negative prefixes by hearing them spoken in context. But, what determines which prefix to use in order to form that word’s opposite? Why is it unlawful, but it’s illegal? Why is it infirm, but it’s impaired? And how do you know what prefix to use when you need

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