Tag Archives: diction/grammar/style/usage

Archaism

“Archaism (noun): Antiquated expression, diction, or style; out-of-date or old-fashioned word or phrase, often having some currency or literary usefulness, e.g., “perchance,” “forsooth,” “betwixt.” Adj. archaism; v. archaize.

‘A part of our reality is the unreality of archaic language about sex.’ Dwight Bolinger, Language—The Loaded Weapon”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Slipshod (adj)

I don’t know how often it is used these days, but if you have an idea that your students should know it and understand how to use it, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective slipshod. It means, for the purposes of this document, “shabby,” “careless,” and “slovenly.”

Its primary meaning, as it sounds and dating from 1580, is “wearing loose shoes or slippers.” But it also means “down at the heel.” All of this is to say that this was almost certainly a Word of the Day at Merriam Webster at the height of the first pandemic surge in the late winter and early spring of 2020.

Wait: has this really continued for almost two years now?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Learning Support on Comma Placement Relative to Other Punctuation

Here is a learning support on comma placement relative to other punctuation. This is the fourteenth of fifteenth learning supports, presented seriatim as they were presented in the punctuation manual from which they were excerpted. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Tip of the Iceberg

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “tip of the iceberg.” This metaphor remains in sufficiently common use, I think, that students, especially students for whom English is a second language, might want to learn it at some point. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two compound sentences and three comprehension questions. With characteristic brevity, the authors of the passaage (i.e., the authors and editors of the The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy) convey that this idiom indicates “Only a hint or suggestion of a much larger or more complex issue or problem.”

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma with Specific Words or Names

To finish up for today, here is a learning support on using a comma with specific words or terms. This is the thirteenth of fifteen such posts. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Skepticism

Here is a reading on skepticism along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This reading’s brevity should not distract from the fact (ironic, I know, to use that noun in a post containing a reading about skepticism) that it is a good general introduction to the topic of skepticism and its intellectual and philosophical principles.

And editorially, if I may? I cannot imagine a better time to teach this important mode of thought and analysis to students. In an age where social media has made it possible to spread mendacity and utter nonsense around the world with the stroke of a key, we owe it to students, and to civil society, to put this concept and its tools in the public square.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Write It Right: Commence for Begin

“Commence for Begin. This is not actually incorrect, but—well, it is a matter of taste.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma in Measurements

Moving right along, here is a learning support on using a comma in measurements. This is the twelfth of fifteen learning supports on commas posted in a series on Mark’s Text Terminal. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Common Errors in English Usage: If Not

Here is a worksheet on the use of “if not” as a means linking a weaker word with a stronger one, as in “He was smart, if not exactly brilliant.” This is a full-page reading with a five sentence reading, ten modified cloze exercises, and a word bank to assist students with word choice if they want or need that support.

To give credit where credit is due, I like to always mention, when posting these English usage documents, that they are based upon Paul Brians’ book (hence the header of each post) Common Errors in English Usage. If you’re interested, Professor Brians allows unfettered access at no charge to the book at the Washington State University website.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Learning Support on Using a Comma with Age, City of Residence, and Political Party Affiliation

Here is a learning support on using a comma with age, city of residence, and political party affiliation. This is the eleventh in a series of fifteen posts in which a long passage from a leading punctuation manual is presented seriatim under their major headings from the book. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.