When Opposites Exact

Let’s think about Lord of the Rings for a minute (and all word nerds rejoiced!). Remember Sméagol/Gollum? Whether you read Tolkien’s three-part epic or you watched it on the big screen (or both), Sméagol is an unforgettable character. He can turn from endearing and sweet to greedy and vengeful within the same breath.

Much Ado About A Lot

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t understand or enjoy much of the Shakespeare assigned to me in high school. I hope that doesn’t ruin my reputation with my fellow word nerds. On the other hand, I love how Shakespeare invented words that are still common in our modern lexicon, including wormhole, swagger and skim milk.

Read Before Burning

I truly believe good grammar can make your life more awesome. It can lead to job opportunities, romantic relationships and even a syndicated column that makes you hyper-specifically famous. Conversely, bad grammar can turn your life into a country song.

The Slippery Slope of Fancy Roof Parties

I hope somebody invites me to a party on a roof someday. This not-quite-bucket-list dream of mine would make me feel like I have finally achieved a (literally) high social status. I can picture myself swirling a martini, talking about horses and stocks with some guy wearing a monocle—it would be so luxurious... 

All About Myself

As I write this, I’m sitting by myself. For those of you who love being alone in total silence, let me let you in on an introvert pro tip: hang out in the periodical room at your local library. You’ll either be alone or with (at most) three other people reading today’s newspaper (because they were too cheap to pay for a subscription).

Moving Toward Grammar Enlightenment

Right now we’re trying to teach our daughter to crawl. She’s eight months old, and I can only imagine how ridiculous I look down on the floor attempting to show her how to push her body up off the floor and start moving toward me. Or is it towards me? Is it toward or towards?

Love is in the Air

Did I say “love?” I totally meant to say “a snowboarder.” I love any and every competition in both the Summer and Winter Olympiads. So from bobsleds to the event where they cross-country ski and shoot a gun, today I’m going to use the Winter Games to clear the air, so to speak, on a few similar sounding words: air, heir and err.

How to Properly Get Lit

I’m a lamp guy. I love lamps. They serve a functional purpose and provide beauty in a room. So when I see a great lamp at an antique store or at an upscale garage sale, you’d better believe I’m going to buy it, put it in the backseat and put a seatbelt on it.

Do the Brussels Hustle

In 2014, kale was all the rage at the local farmers’ market. 2016 brought us an avocado fad which elevated toast prices among the hipster millennial community. As a professional grammarian and amateur vegetable trend forecaster, take this hot tip: you’re going to want to put all your 2018 summer stock in Brussels sprouts.

Chainsaws and Killer Coconuts

Falling coconuts kill an estimated 150 people worldwide every year. Because I don’t want to get killed by a falling coconut, I’m working on a patent for a combination shield/umbrella, which I’m thinking about calling the shumbrella (coming soon to a Bed Bath and Beyond near you).

Captain Hook Feels Badly

We hear this one all the time: I feel badly because Randolph lost his job at the pro shop. In an effort to have better grammar we can often make it worse. So let’s figure out why the correct phrase in the above instance should be I feel bad.

None is the Loneliest Number

Is none singular or plural? If any mathletes out there are reading this, they would likely interject, “False! None is zero.” And then they would adjust their adult retainers and get back to discussing their theories on who Rey’s parents really are.

The Best Way to Lead Off a New Year

It’s resolution time, which means your local gym’s treadmills will be in high demand while they glisten with other people’s sweat (until roughly the end of February). You’ve probably set some goals for yourself and defined ways you’d like to be more awesome in 2018. Allow me to suggest an additional resolution: to win at life with better grammar.

How to Avoid Passive-Aggressive Voice

When it comes to writing, you should always use active voice. You should utilize active voice as often as possible so those reading your prose will understand perfectly and clearly what you’re trying to say. In active voice writing, the subject of the sentence does the action: The unicorn (subject) started (verb) a game of hide-and-seek over 4,000 years ago; he’s still hiding.