Category Archives: Wordsmithville

The Internet: Professional Provocateuress par excellence

Maureen Dowd is one of the English-speaking world’s bestknown feminists; her column in the New York Times a bellwether for the movement. So it comes across as interesting when she was described as a Professional Provocateuress by Kathleen Parker, another … Continue reading

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Risking a headline

There are all kinds of risks financial companies tell you about (or at least should) when they sell you a mutual fund or insurance policy. But have you ever heard of ‘headline risk‘? Well, that’s the risk that a negative … Continue reading

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Commentroversy: Hoping this post doesn’t spark one

The internet truly seems to have a word for everything. Everything, because many of those things in everything get created on the the internet, though they may move into other spheres in due course. One such word is commentroversy. There’s … Continue reading

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Mind that step…and mind that sorry, too!

Imagine you did something that other people didn’t like. They say you were wrong to do it. You’ve go to say sorry, say that you won’t do it again. Now you don’t believe you actually did anything wrong, but you’ve … Continue reading

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Baby, I’m a belieber

No, that’s not a spelling mistake. That’s an internet neologism. Other bands just have fans, the legendary Beatles had their Beatlemaniacs. Current teen sensation Justin Bieber has his, well, you guessed it, beliebers. That’s the hash tag (the one that … Continue reading

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A Gresham’s Law for words

Everytime we land in a tricky situation (i.e. a mess), we will resort to tampering with the language to make things seem rosier than they are. That’s called a euphemism; in plainer English one might say we’re putting a gloss. … Continue reading

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crash blossoms in net puzzle

What do you make of a headline like the one above? You’d never dare write it in a good, clean English sentence, but headlines have a grammar of their own. And that sometimes leads to such ambiguity. Which is the … Continue reading

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On refudiating new words

How do new words arise in a language? Are they even legitimate? Does usage make a new word suddenly acceptable to the dictionary? A hot question is now spreading through the internet – is Sarah Palin’s neologism ‘refudiate’  (coined on … Continue reading

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A blizzard of snowclones

We know what a cliché is: a phrase used so often, it is irritating to the reader. Nevertheless, they survive, because they are so easy to bank upon by lazy copywriters (such as this writer). In fact, they are cliché … Continue reading

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Netspeak: Getting Amazonned

You will have heard of being ‘Bangalored‘. A word created by Western information technologists to describe the phenomenon of losing their jobs to an IT guy from a Bangalore-based outsourcing firm. Now what if you lost your business to an … Continue reading

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