Wordplay: When intransitives go transitive

Wordplay is a regular column by editor and language writer James Harbeck in which he tastes and plays with English words and usages. We’ve all learned that there are two kinds of verbs: transitive and intransitive. Transitives take a direct object—“I fry an egg”—and intransitives don’t—“My stomach aches.” But that’s not the whole story. In fact, … Continue reading Wordplay: When intransitives go transitive

In a world fraught with jargon, are we drowning in English?

By Whitney Matusiak I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently, and I casually mentioned my love for words. After that initial statement, irony set in, and I called my linguaphilia indescribable. Is that even possible? Have I failed my passion of writing and editing by being incapable of wielding its power to describe my love for it? I have a … Continue reading In a world fraught with jargon, are we drowning in English?

Wordplay: Deck, don, and troll your way through Christmas

Wordplay is a regular column by editor and language writer James Harbeck in which he tastes and plays with English words and usages. There are some things that seem to happen only at Christmas. For instance, there’s someone who wanders around all over the place and does something on your roof. Well, OK, that’s more … Continue reading Wordplay: Deck, don, and troll your way through Christmas

Wordplay: None of these people are right

Wordplay is a regular column by editor and language writer James Harbeck in which he tastes and plays with English words and usages. You have probably encountered, every now and then, people who will aver that none can take only a singular conjugation, never a plural: never none are, always none is. The argument they present … Continue reading Wordplay: None of these people are right