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Posted July 1, 2008
'The Birds and Bees of Words is an excellent reminder for those writers among us who cling to the old rules of grammar fearing ending a sentence with a preposition or dangling participle. In our forgetfulness that English grammar and usage has evolved, Mary Embree makes a very common sense point when she says, 'What matters, is that our meaning is clear'. No one can appreciate this more, than a writer whose main concern is to present their work as a pleasurable read. Most engaging, if not downright fascinating, is Embree's chapter on New Words and Phrases. Did you know the newest Eleventh edition of the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary contains 10,000 new words and more than 100,000 new meanings? For instance, papaphobia: meaning fear of the Pope, or retrosexual: meaning a heterosexual male who does not spend a lot of time on his appearance and lifestyle, he uses tools and can fix things, he has old-fashioned graces such as opening doors for women, the opposite of metrosexual. This chapter alone is worth keeping Embree's book on my desk as a reference. I feel hip now.'
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Posted August 29, 2010
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